Here’s the abstract of a paper that will be given at a scientific conference in Oslo this summer:
GWAS stands for Genome-wide association study.
Genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals for educational attainment (Rietveld et al., 2013). The results of the latest GWAS for educational attainment identified 74 genome-wide significant loci for educational attainment (Okbay et al., 2016). Here, in one of the largest GWAS to date, we increase our sample to nearly 750,000 individuals, and we identify over 600 genome-wide significant loci associated with the number of years of schooling completed. Note that at the time of presentation, we will likely have updated our meta-analysis to include over 1,000,000 individuals
A million person sample size. Wow. I heard about the scale of this project last year and I’m still in awe.
They use educational attainment (years of schooling completed) as their dependent variable because that’s one trait that is asked about in major medical studies that collect genetic data.
In this presentation, I will focus on the biological implications of the GWAS results. At the time of writing, 1,656 genes are significantly prioritized, a more than 10-fold increase since our previous report (Okbay et al., 2016). The newly significant results reinforce the biological theme of prenatal brain development and also bring to the foreground new themes that shed light on the biological underpinnings of cognitive performance and other traits affecting educational attainment.
James Lee (University of Minnesota – Twin Cities), Aysu Okbay (Free University Amsterdam), Robbee Wedow (University of Colorado – Boulder), Edward Kong (Harvard University), Patrick Turley (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard), Meghan Zacher (Harvard University), Kevin Thom (New York University), Anh Tuan Nguyen Viet (University of Southern California), Omeed Maghzian (Harvard University, NBER), Richard Karlsson Linnér (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Matthew Robinson (The University of Queensland), Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (NA), Peter Visscher (The University of Queensland), Daniel Benjamin (University of Southern California), David Cesarini (New York University)