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Genome-wide association meta-analysis in 269,867 individuals identifies new genetic and functional links to intelligence

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  • Jeanne E. Savage
  • Philip R. Jansen
  • Sven Stringer
  • Kyoko Watanabe
  • Julien Bryois
  • Christiaan A. De Leeuw
  • Swapnil Awasthi
  • Peter B. Barr
  • Jonathan R. I. Coleman
  • Katrina L. Grasby
  • Anke R. Hammerschlag
  • Jakob A. Kaminski
  • Robert Karlsson
  • Eva Krapohl
  • Max Lam
  • Marianne Nygaard
  • Chandra A. Reynolds
  • Joey W. Trampush
  • Hannah Young
  • Delilah Zabaneh
  • Sara Hägg
  • Narelle K. Hansell
  • Ida K. Karlsson
  • Sten Linnarsson
  • Grant W. Montgomery
  • Ana B. Muñoz-manchado
  • Erin B. Quinlan
  • Gunter Schumann
  • Bradley T. Webb
  • Tonya White
  • Dan E. Arking
  • Dimitrios Avramopoulos
  • Robert M. Bilder
  • Panos Bitsios
  • Katherine E. Burdick
  • Tyrone D. Cannon
  • Ornit Chiba-falek
  • Andrea Christoforou
  • Elizabeth T. Cirulli
  • Eliza Congdon
  • Aiden Corvin
  • Pamela Derosse
  • Dwight Dickinson
  • Srdjan Djurovic
  • Gary Donohoe
  • Emily Drabant Conley
  • Johan G. Eriksson
  • Thomas Espeseth
  • Nelson A. Freimer
  • Stella Giakoumaki
  • Ina Giegling
  • Michael Gill
  • David C. Glahn
  • Ahmad R. Hariri
  • Alex Hatzimanolis
  • Matthew C. Keller
  • Emma Knowles
  • Deborah Koltai
  • Bettina Konte
  • Jari Lahti
  • Stephanie Le Hellard
  • Todd Lencz
  • David C. Liewald
  • Edythe London
  • Astri J. Lundervold
  • Anil K. Malhotra
  • Ingrid Melle
  • Derek Morris
  • Anna C. Need
  • William Ollier
  • Aarno Palotie
  • Antony Payton
  • Neil Pendleton
  • Russell A. Poldrack
  • Katri Räikkönen
  • Ivar Reinvang
  • Panos Roussos
  • Dan Rujescu
  • Fred W. Sabb
  • Matthew A. Scult
  • Olav B. Smeland
  • Nikolaos Smyrnis
  • Vidar M. Steen
  • Nikos C. Stefanis
  • Richard E. Straub
  • Kjetil Sundet
  • Henning Tiemeier
  • Aristotle N. Voineskos
  • Daniel R. Weinberger
  • Elisabeth Widen
  • Jin Yu
  • Goncalo Abecasis
  • Ole A. Andreassen
  • Gerome Breen
  • Lene Christiansen
  • Birgit Debrabant
  • Danielle M. Dick
  • Andreas Heinz
  • Jens Hjerling-leffler
  • M. Arfan Ikram
  • Kenneth S. Kendler
  • Nicholas G. Martin
  • Sarah E. Medland
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
  • Robert Plomin
  • Tinca J. C. Polderman
  • Stephan Ripke
  • Patrick F. Sullivan
  • Scott I. Vrieze
  • Margaret J. Wright
  • Danielle Posthuma

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-919
JournalNature Genetics
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2018

Abstract

Intelligence is highly heritable and a major determinant of human health and well-being. Recent genome-wide meta-analyses have identified 24 genomic loci linked to variation in intelligence, but much about its genetic underpinnings remains to be discovered. Here, we present a large-scale genetic association study of intelligence (n = 269,867), identifying 205 associated genomic loci (190 new) and 1,016 genes (939 new) via positional mapping, expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping, chromatin interaction mapping, and gene-based association analysis. We find enrichment of genetic effects in conserved and coding regions and associations with 146 nonsynonymous exonic variants. Associated genes are strongly expressed in the brain, specifically in striatal medium spiny neurons and hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Gene set analyses implicate pathways related to nervous system development and synaptic structure. We confirm previous strong genetic correlations with multiple health-related outcomes, and Mendelian randomization analysis results suggest protective effects of intelligence for Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD and bidirectional causation with pleiotropic effects for schizophrenia. These results are a major step forward in understanding the neurobiology of cognitive function as well as genetically related neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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