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Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment
Erasmus Univ, Erasmus Sch Econ, Dept Appl Econ, NL-3062 PA Rotterdam, Netherlands.;Erasmus MC, Dept Epidemiol, NL-3015 GE Rotterdam, Netherlands.;Erasmus Univ, Inst Behav & Biol, NL-3062 PA Rotterdam, Netherlands..
Harvard Univ, Dept Econ, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA..
Univ So Calif, Ctr Econ & Social Res, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA..
Univ Minnesota Twin Cities, Dept Psychol, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA..
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2016 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 533, no 7604, 539-542 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Educational attainment is strongly influenced by social and other environmental factors, but genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals(1). Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for educational attainment that extends our earlier discovery sample(1,2) of 101,069 individuals to 293,723 individuals, and a replication study in an independent sample of 111,349 individuals from the UK Biobank. We identify 74 genome-wide significant loci associated with the number of years of schooling completed. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with educational attainment are disproportionately found in genomic regions regulating gene expression in the fetal brain. Candidate genes are preferentially expressed in neural tissue, especially during the prenatal period, and enriched for biological pathways involved in neural development. Our findings demonstrate that, even for a behavioural phenotype that is mostly environmentally determined, a well-powered GWAS identifies replicable associated genetic variants that suggest biologically relevant pathways. Because educational attainment is measured in large numbers of individuals, it will continue to be useful as a proxy phenotype in efforts to characterize the genetic influences of related phenotypes, including cognition and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 533, no 7604, 539-542 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302246DOI: 10.1038/nature17671ISI: 000376443100042PubMedID: 27225129OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-302246DiVA: diva2:957239
Funder
Ragnar Söderbergs stiftelse, E9/11Swedish Research Council, 421-2013-1061The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius FoundationEU, European Research Council, 647648 EdGe
Available from: 2016-09-01 Created: 2016-08-31 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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