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.

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  1. Nature 533, 539-542 (2016). doi: 10.1038/nature17671
Institutions Share
Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC), Netherlands 0.04
The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), RUG, Netherlands 0.03
MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
University of Helsinki, Finland 0.03
University of Bristol (UoB), United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia 0.02
University of Michigan (U-M), United States of America (USA) 0.02
University Medicine Greifswald, Germany 0.02
University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMTC), United States of America (USA) 0.02
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), United States of America (USA) 0.02
National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland 0.02
deCODE Genetics, Inc., Iceland 0.02
University of Tartu (UT), Estonia 0.02
VU University Medical Center (VUmc), Netherlands 0.02
NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA), United States of America (USA) 0.02
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Australia 0.02
University of Trieste (UNITS), Italy 0.02
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Netherlands 0.02
VU Amsterdam, Netherlands 0.02
Karolinska Institute (KI), Sweden 0.02
The University of Manchester (UoM), United Kingdom (UK) 0.02
Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research (IRGB), CNR, Italy 0.02
Harvard University, United States of America (USA) 0.02
Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU), Germany 0.01
Rush University Medical Center, United States of America (USA) 0.01
University Hospital Graz, Austria 0.01
Essen University Hospital, Germany 0.01
23andMe, Inc., United States of America (USA) 0.01
King's College London (KCL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Norway 0.01
Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc), RU, Netherlands 0.01
University of Leicester, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
University of Iceland, Iceland 0.01
IRCCS Materno Infantile Burlo Garofolo, Italy 0.01
TUM-HMGU Institute of Human Genetics (IHG), Germany 0.01
University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), UNIL, Switzerland 0.01
Charité - University Medicine Berlin, Germany 0.01
The University of Newcastle (UON), Australia 0.01
Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), Australia 0.01
Harokopio University of Athens (HUA), Greece 0.01
University of Southern California (USC), United States of America (USA) 0.01
New York University (NYU), United States of America (USA) 0.01
Uppsala University (UU), Sweden 0.01
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Imperial College London (ICL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
University of Amsterdam (UvA), Netherlands 0.01
Samfundet Folkhälsan, Finland 0.01
Social Impact, United States of America (USA) 0.01
University of Oxford, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
William Harvey Research Institute (WHRI), QMUL, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Icelandic Heart Association (IHA), Iceland 0.01
German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Germany 0.01
University of Milan (UNIMI), Italy 0.01
Sahlgrenska Academy, GU, Sweden 0.01
Translational Research Institute (TRI), Australia 0.01
NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (LCBRU), United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
University of Split, Croatia 0.01
UCL, United Kingdom (UK) 0
Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark 0
Herlev University Hospital, Denmark 0
Copenhagen Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC), UCPH, Denmark 0
Institute of Molecular Genetics (IGM), CNR, Italy 0
The Bioethics Program, United States of America (USA) 0
Stanford University, United States of America (USA) 0
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom (UK) 0
Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), Sweden 0
The University of Warwick (Warwick), United Kingdom (UK) 0
Max Planck Institute for Human Development (MPIB), Germany 0
TEMA B.V., Netherlands 0
New York Genome Center (NYGC), United States of America (USA) 0
Union College, United States of America (USA) 0
NIHR Guy's and St Thomas' Biomedical Research Centre, United Kingdom (UK) 0
University of Münster (WWU), Germany 0
NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI), United States of America (USA) 0
Florida State University (FSU), United States of America (USA) 0
University of Turku (UTU), Finland 0
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), United States of America (USA) 0
Medical University of Graz (Med Uni Graz), Austria 0
University of Dundee, United Kingdom (UK) 0
The University of Chicago Medicine, United States of America (USA) 0
Tampere University Hospital (TAUH), Finland 0
NorthShore University HealthSystem, United States of America (USA) 0
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Finland 0
Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), United States of America (USA) 0
University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland 0
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), Switzerland 0
Boston Children's Hospital (BCH), United States of America (USA) 0
University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark 0
Reykjavik University, Iceland 0
University Hospital Bonn (UKB), Uni Bonn, Germany 0
Institute for Biomedical Technologies (ITB), CNR, Italy 0
Helios Kliniken GmbH, Germany 0
UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance, Australia 0
University of Oulu, Finland 0
Tampere University, Finland 0
Fimlab Laboratories Ltd., Finland 0
University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein - Campus Lübeck (UKSH Lübeck), Germany 0
NYU Shanghai, China 0
Queen's University, Canada 0
NYU Langone Health, United States of America (USA) 0
Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark 0
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Netherlands 0
Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Sweden 0
LMU-HMGU Chair of Epidemiology, Germany 0
King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Saudi Arabia 0
University Hospital of Regensburg (UKR), Germany 0
Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia 0
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), United States of America (USA) 0
Radboud University Nijmegen (RU), Netherlands 0
Oxford Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, United Kingdom (UK) 0
Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), United Kingdom (UK) 0
Maastricht University (UM), Netherlands 0
Biomedical Sciences Group, KU Leuven, Belgium 0
Steno Diabetes Center A/S, Denmark 0
Generation Scotland (GS), United Kingdom (UK) 0
Durrer Center for Cardiovascular Research (Durrer Center), Netherlands 0
Partners HealthCare, United States of America (USA) 0
Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar 0
Bispebjerg University Hospital (BBH), Denmark 0
University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), UNIL, Switzerland 0
University of Bonn (Uni Bonn), Germany 0
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Australia 0
Montpellier Business School, France 0
Panteia, Netherlands 0
The State Serum Institute (SSI), Denmark 0
MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, ICL, United Kingdom (UK) 0
Oulu University Hospital (OUH), Finland 0