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Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for extraversion: Findings from the Genetics of Personality Consortium

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  • Stéphanie M van den Berg
  • Marleen H M de Moor
  • Karin J H Verweij
  • Robert F Krueger
  • Michelle Luciano
  • Alejandro Arias Vasquez
  • Lindsay K Matteson
  • Jaime Derringer
  • Tõnu Esko
  • Najaf Amin
  • Scott D Gordon
  • Narelle K Hansell
  • Amy B Hart
  • Ilkka Seppälä
  • Jennifer E Huffman
  • Bettina Konte
  • Jari Lahti
  • Minyoung Lee
  • Mike Miller
  • Teresa Nutile
  • Toshiko Tanaka
  • Alexander Teumer
  • Alexander Viktorin
  • Juho Wedenoja
  • Abdel Abdellaoui
  • Goncalo R Abecasis
  • Daniel E Adkins
  • Arpana Agrawal
  • Jüri Allik
  • Katja Appel
  • Timothy B Bigdeli
  • Fabio Busonero
  • Harry Campbell
  • Paul T Costa
  • George Davey Smith
  • Gail Davies
  • Harriet de Wit
  • Jun Ding
  • Barbara E Engelhardt
  • Johan G Eriksson
  • Iryna O Fedko
  • David C Liewald
  • Ozren Polasek
  • John M Starr
  • Lina Zgaga
  • David Porteous
  • Caroline Hayward
  • Igor Rudan
  • Ian J Deary
  • James F Wilson
  • Generation Scotland

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Genetics
Early online date11 Sep 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2015


Extraversion is a relatively stable and heritable personality trait associated with numerous psychosocial, lifestyle and health outcomes. Despite its substantial heritability, no genetic variants have been detected in previous genome-wide association (GWA) studies, which may be due to relatively small sample sizes of those studies. Here, we report on a large meta-analysis of GWA studies for extraversion in 63,030 subjects in 29 cohorts. Extraversion item data from multiple personality inventories were harmonized across inventories and cohorts. No genome-wide significant associations were found at the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) level but there was one significant hit at the gene level for a long non-coding RNA site (LOC101928162). Genome-wide complex trait analysis in two large cohorts showed that the additive variance explained by common SNPs was not significantly different from zero, but polygenic risk scores, weighted using linkage information, significantly predicted extraversion scores in an independent cohort. These results show that extraversion is a highly polygenic personality trait, with an architecture possibly different from other complex human traits, including other personality traits. Future studies are required to further determine which genetic variants, by what modes of gene action, constitute the heritable nature of extraversion.

    Research areas

  • Personality, Polygenic risk, Imputation, Phenotype harmonization, Common genetic variants

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