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Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function

Davies, Gail and Lam, Max and Harris, Sarah E and Trampush, Joey W and Luciano, Michelle and Hill, W David and Hagenaars, Saskia P and Ritchie, Stuart J and Marioni, Riccardo E and Fawns-Ritchie, Chloe and Liewald, David CM and Okely, Judith A and Ahola-Olli, Ari V and Barnes, Catriona LK and Bertram, Lars and Bis, Joshua C and Burdick, Katherine E and Christoforou, Andrea and DeRosse, Pamela and Djurovic, Srdjan and Espeseth, Thomas and Giakoumaki, Stella and Giddaluru, Sudheer and Gustavson, Daniel E and Hayward, Caroline and Hofer, Edith and Ikram, M Arfan and Karlsson, Robert and Knowles, Emma and Lahti, Jari and Leber, Markus and Li, Shuo and Mather, Karen A and Melle, Ingrid and Morris, Derek and Oldmeadow, Christopher and Palviainen, Teemu and Payton, Antony and Pazoki, Raha and Petrovic, Katja and Reynolds, Chandra A and Sargurupremraj, Muralidharan and Scholz, Markus and Smith, Jennifer A and Smith, Albert V and Terzikhan, Natalie and Thalamuthu, Anbupalam and Trompet, Stella and van der Lee, Sven J and Ware, Erin B and Windham, B Gwen and Wright, Margaret J and Yang, Jingyun and Yu, Jin and Ames, David and Amin, Najaf and Amouyel, Philippe and Andreassen, Ole A and Armstrong, Nicola J and Assareh, Amelia A and Attia, John R and Attix, Deborah and Avramopoulos, Dimitrios and Bennett, David A and Böhmer, Anne C and Boyle, Patricia A and Brodaty, Henry and Campbell, Harry and Cannon, Tyrone D and Cirulli, Elizabeth T and Congdon, Eliza and Conley, Emily Drabant and Corley, Janie and Cox, Simon R and Dale, Anders M and Dehghan, Abbas and Dick, Danielle and Dickinson, Dwight and Eriksson, Johan G and Evangelou, Evangelos and Faul, Jessica D and Ford, Ian and Freimer, Nelson A and Gao, He and Giegling, Ina and Gillespie, Nathan A and Gordon, Scott D and Gottesman, Rebecca F and Griswold, Michael E and Gudnason, Vilmundur and Harris, Tamara B and Hartmann, Annette M and Hatzimanolis, Alex and Heiss, Gerardo and Holliday, Elizabeth G and Joshi, Peter K and Kähönen, Mika and Kardia, Sharon LR and Karlsson, Ida and Kleineidam, Luca and Knopman, David S and Kochan, Nicole A and Konte, Bettina and Kwok, John B and Le Hellard, Stephanie and Lee, Teresa and Lehtimäki, Terho and Li, Shu-Chen and Lill, Christina M and Liu, Tian and Koini, Marisa and London, Edythe and Longstreth, Will T and Lopez, Oscar L and Loukola, Anu and Luck, Tobias and Lundervold, Astri J and Lundquist, Anders and Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka and Martin, Nicholas G and Montgomery, Grant W and Murray, Alison D and Need, Anna C and Noordam, Raymond and Nyberg, Lars and Ollier, William and Papenberg, Goran and Pattie, Alison and Polasek, Ozren and Poldrack, Russell A and Psaty, Bruce M and Reppermund, Simone and Riedel-Heller, Steffi G and Rose, Richard J and Rotter, Jerome I and Roussos, Panos and Rovio, Suvi P and Saba, Yasaman and Sabb, Fred W and Sachdev, Perminder S and Satizabal, Claudia L and Schmid, Matthias and Scott, Rodney J and Scult, Matthew A and Simino, Jeannette and Slagboom, P Eline and Smyrnis, Nikolaos and Soumaré, Aïcha and Stefanis, Nikos C and Stott, David J and Straub, Richard E and Sundet, Kjetil and Taylor, Adele M and Taylor, Kent D and Tzoulaki, Ioanna and Tzourio, Christophe and Uitterlinden, André and Vitart, Veronique and Voineskos, Aristotle N and Kaprio, Jaakko and Wagner, Michael and Wagner, Holger and Weinhold, Leonie and Wen, K Hoyan and Widen, Elisabeth and Yang, Qiong and Zhao, Wei and Adams, Hieab HH and Arking, Dan E and Bilder, Robert M and Bitsios, Panos and Boerwinkle, Eric and Chiba-Falek, Ornit and Corvin, Aiden and De Jager, Philip L and Debette, Stéphanie and Donohoe, Gary and Elliott, Paul and Fitzpatrick, Annette L and Gill, Michael and Glahn, David C and Hägg, Sara and Hansell, Narelle K and Hariri, Ahmad R and Ikram, M Kamran and Jukema, J Wouter and Vuoksimaa, Eero and Keller, Matthew C and Kremen, William S and Launer, Lenore and Lindenberger, Ulman and Palotie, Aarno and Pedersen, Nancy L and Pendleton, Neil and Porteous, David J and Räikkönen, Katri and Raitakari, Olli T and Ramirez, Alfredo and Reinvang, Ivar and Rudan, Igor and Dan Rujescu and Schmidt, Reinhold and Schmidt, Helena and Schofield, Peter W and Schofield, Peter R and Starr, John M and Steen, Vidar M and Trollor, Julian N and Turner, Steven T and Van Duijn, Cornelia M and Villringer, Arno and Weinberger, Daniel R and Weir, David R and Wilson, James F and Malhotra, Anil and McIntosh, Andrew M and Gale, Catharine R and Seshadri, Sudha and Mosley, Thomas H and Bressler, Jan and Lencz, Todd and Deary, Ian J (2018) Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function. Nature Communications, 9 (1). ISSN 2041-1723


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General cognitive function is a prominent and relatively stable human trait that is associated with many important life outcomes. We combine cognitive and genetic data from the CHARGE and COGENT consortia, and UK Biobank (total N = 300,486; age 16-102) and find 148 genome-wide significant independent loci (P < 5 × 10-8) associated with general cognitive function. Within the novel genetic loci are variants associated with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, physical and psychiatric illnesses, and brain structure. Gene-based analyses find 709 genes associated with general cognitive function. Expression levels across the cortex are associated with general cognitive function. Using polygenic scores, up to 4.3% of variance in general cognitive function is predicted in independent samples. We detect significant genetic overlap between general cognitive function, reaction time, and many health variables including eyesight, hypertension, and longevity. In conclusion we identify novel genetic loci and pathways contributing to the heritability of general cognitive function.

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