Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment

Journal: Nature

Published: 2016-05-11

DOI: 10.1038/nature17671

Affiliations: 198

Authors: 255

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Research Highlight

Are there genes that help you stay in school?

© Kidstock/Getty

© Kidstock/Getty

Education levels are largely dependent on socioeconomic and environmental factors, but genetics should not be discounted, say researchers. A 250-strong international team, including researchers from UQ’s Queensland Brain Institute, have identified 74 areas of DNA associated with how long you stick it out at school.

The researchers scrutinized the DNA of more than 290,000 people, and found that the association is clear, but the cause is not, and noted that the 74 areas collectively account for less than 0.5 per cent of the differences in educational attainment. The regions, they observed, seem to be particularly involved in foetal brain development.

Researchers are also excited by overlap of many of these variants with cognitive performance and neuropsychiatric diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

"These tiny genetic differences may ultimately help us understand why some people are more susceptible to early cognitive decline than others," said UQ’s Peter Visscher in a press release.

  1. Nature 533, 539-542 (2016). doi: 10.1038/nature17671
Institutions FC WFC
Erasmus Medical Center (Erasmus MC), Netherlands 0.04 0.04
MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.03 0.03
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), RUG, Netherlands 0.02 0.02
Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), UQ, Australia 0.02 0.02
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), UoB, United Kingdom (UK) 0.02 0.02
University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC), United States of America (USA) 0.02 0.02
Department of Health, THL, Finland 0.02 0.02
deCODE Genetics, Iceland 0.02 0.02
NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA), United States of America (USA) 0.02 0.02
Centre for Global Health Research, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.02 0.02
Estonian Genome Center, UT, Estonia 0.02 0.02
QIMR Berghofer Genetic Epidemiology, Molecular Epidemiology and Neurogenetics Laboratories, Australia 0.02 0.02
Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche Chirurgiche e della Salute, UNITS, Italy 0.02 0.02
Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands 0.02 0.02
Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research (IRGB), CNR, Italy 0.02 0.02
Department of Genetics, WUSTL, United States of America (USA) 0.02 0.02
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, KI, Sweden 0.02 0.02
School of Public Health (SPH), U-M, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Harvard Department of Economics, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
VU University Medical Center (VUmc), Netherlands 0.01 0.01
Institute for Community Medicine (ICM), University of Greifswald, Germany 0.01 0.01
Hjelt Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland 0.01 0.01
Essen University Hospital, Germany 0.01 0.01
Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, KCL, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Universitätsklinik für Neurologie, LKH-Universitätsklinikum Graz, Austria 0.01 0.01
Institute of Behavioural Sciences (IBS), University of Helsinki, Finland 0.01 0.01
23andMe, Inc., United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Division of Epidemiology, NIPH, Norway 0.01 0.01
IRCCS Materno Infantile Burlo Garofolo, Italy 0.01 0.01
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE), The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), EUR, Netherlands 0.01 0.01
Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Iceland 0.01 0.01
University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), UNIL, Switzerland 0.01 0.01
Faculty of Health and Medicine, UON, Australia 0.01 0.01
USC Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR), United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Greece 0.01 0.01
Survey Research Center (SRC), U-M, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Institute of Human Genetics (IHG), HMGU, Germany 0.01 0.01
Department of Psychiatry, WUSTL, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Radboud Institute for Health Sciences (RIHS), RU, Netherlands 0.01 0.01
Department of Government, UU, Sweden 0.01 0.01
Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), Australia 0.01 0.01
Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, University of Greifswald, Germany 0.01 0.01
Erasmus University Rotterdam Institute for Behavior and Biology (EURIBEB), EUR, Netherlands 0.01 0.01
Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands 0.01 0.01
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Rush University Medical Center, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Translational Research Institute (TRI), Australia 0.01 0.01
School of Medicine, University of Split, Croatia 0.01 0.01
Social Impact, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Charité Berlin Aging Study II, Germany 0.01 0.01
William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI), QMUL, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (RADC), United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
Institute of Population Health, UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS), The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Department of Health Sciences (DISS), UNIMI, Italy 0.01 0.01
German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), DIW Berlin, Germany 0.01 0.01
Institute of Epidemiology II (EPI II), HMGU, Germany 0.01 0.01
Folkhälsan Research Center, Finland 0.01 0.01
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology (AME), HMGU, Germany 0.01 0.01
Institute of Clinical Sciences, GU, Sweden 0.01 0.01
Icelandic Heart Association (IHA), Iceland 0.01 0.01
NYU Department of Economics, United States of America (USA) 0.01 0.01
NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (LCBRU), United Kingdom (UK) 0.01 0.01
Department of Genetics, RUG, Netherlands 0.01 0.01
UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH), United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Amsterdam Business School (ABS), UvA, Netherlands 0 0
Copenhagen Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC), UCPH, Denmark 0 0
Herlev University Hospital, UCPH, Denmark 0 0
Gentofte University Hospital, UCPH, Denmark 0 0
Department of Geology, Union College, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Division of Biological Sciences (BSD), UChicago, United States of America (USA) 0 0
College of Medicine, FSU, United States of America (USA) 0 0
New York Genome Center (NYGC), United States of America (USA) 0 0
School of Medicine and Dentistry (MBChB), University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, United States of America (USA) 0 0
NIH NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), United States of America (USA) 0 0
Center for Lifespan Psychology (LIP), MPIB, Germany 0 0
TEMA B.V., Netherlands 0 0
Oxford Saïd Business School, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, WWU, Germany 0 0
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Department of Economics, SSE, Sweden 0 0
Faculty of Medicine, ICL, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
NorthShore University HealthSystem, United States of America (USA) 0 0
The Bioethics Program, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine (CAPC), UTU, Finland 0 0
Department of Psychology, UIUC, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Warwick Medical School (WMS), United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Institute of Molecular Genetics (IGM), CNR, Italy 0 0
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Finland 0 0
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), Switzerland 0 0
Department of Medical Genetics (DGM), UNIL, Switzerland 0 0
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, UCPH, Denmark 0 0
Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (IGE), HMGU, Germany 0 0
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBBC), Med Uni Graz, Austria 0 0
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, THL, Finland 0 0
Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium 0 0
Maastricht University (UM), Netherlands 0 0
Institute for Social Research (ISR), U-M, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Chair of Genetic Epidemiology, Germany 0 0
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Netherlands 0 0
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, UT, Estonia 0 0
School of Policy Studies (SPS), Queen's University, Canada 0 0
Major of Economics, NYU Shanghai, China 0 0
Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA), UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
NYU School of Medicine, United States of America (USA) 0 0
NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS), United States of America (USA) 0 0
School of Medicine, UTA, Finland 0 0
Fimlab Laboratories Ltd., Finland 0 0
Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Finland 0 0
Institute for Biomedical Technologies (ITB), CNR, Italy 0 0
School of Public Health (SPH), ICL, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc), RU, Netherlands 0 0
University Medicine Greifswald, Germany 0 0
Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Sweden 0 0
HELIOS Hanseklinikum Stralsund, Germany 0 0
Institute of Neurogenetics, UKSH Lübeck, Germany 0 0
QUT Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Australia 0 0
School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Iceland 0 0
Department of Clinical Physiology, TAUH, Finland 0 0
Charité Institute of Medical Genetics and Human Genetics, Germany 0 0
Princess Al-Jawhara Center of Excellence in Research of Hereditary Disorders (PACER-HD), KAU, Saudi Arabia 0 0
Oxford Nuffield Department of Population Health (NDPH), United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
DTU Center for Biological Sequence Analysis (CBS), Denmark 0 0
University Hospital of Regensburg (UKR), Germany 0 0
Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC), UvA, Netherlands 0 0
Tampere University Hospital (TAUH), Finland 0 0
School of Oral and Dental Sciences, UoB, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Faculty of Science, RU, Netherlands 0 0
Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Oxford Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation (IMI), Med Uni Graz, Austria 0 0
School of Psychological Sciences, UoM, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Steno Diabetes Center A/S, Denmark 0 0
Division of Endocrinology, BCH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Center for Basic and Translational Obesity Research, BCH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Generation Scotland (GS), United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Durrer Center for Cardiovascular Research (Durrer Center), Netherlands 0 0
Department of Medicine (DOM), BWH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine (PCPGM), United States of America (USA) 0 0
Bispebjerg University Hospital, UCPH, Denmark 0 0
School of Science and Engineering (SSE), Reykjavik University, Iceland 0 0
University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), UNIL, Switzerland 0 0
Institute of Human Genetics, Uni Bonn, Germany 0 0
Institute of Biomedical and Neural Engineering (BNE), Reykjavik University, Iceland 0 0
Faculty of Medicine, Uni Bonn, Germany 0 0
Division of Experimental Genetics, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar 0 0
Department of Genomics, Uni Bonn, Germany 0 0
Montpellier Business School, France 0 0
Panteia, Netherlands 0 0
Centre for Population Health Research (CPHR), UniSA, Australia 0 0
School of Health Sciences, UniSA, Australia 0 0
Department of Psychiatry, BWH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Harvard Medical School (HMS), United States of America (USA) 0 0
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Australia 0 0
Department of Neurology, BWH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Department of Epidemiology Research, SSI, Denmark 0 0
Harvard Department of Genetics, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU), MGH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Department of Psychiatry, MGH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Department of Neurology, MGH, United States of America (USA) 0 0
Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, Finland 0 0
MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, ICL, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0
Center for Life Course Epidemiology Research, University of Oulu, Finland 0 0
Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland 0 0
Faculty of Medicine (FMed), University of Oulu, Finland 0 0
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (EBS), ICL, United Kingdom (UK) 0 0

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