Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Aggressive Behavior

J. van Dongen, M.G. Nivard, B.M.L. Baselmans, N. Rodrigues Zilhao Nogueira, L. Ligthart, B.T. Heijmans, M. Bartels, D.I. Boomsma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aggressive behavior is highly heritable, while environmental influences, particularly early in life, are also important. Epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, regulate gene expression throughout development and adulthood, and may mediate genetic and environmental effects on complex traits. We performed an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) to identify regions in the genome where DNA methylation level is associated with aggressive behavior. Subjects took part in longitudinal survey studies from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and participated in the NTR biobank project between 2004 and 2011 (N = 2,029, mean age at blood sampling = 36.4 years, SD = 12.4, females = 69.2%). Aggressive behavior was rated with the ASEBA Adult Self-Report (ASR). DNA methylation was measured in whole blood by the Illumina HM450k array. The association between aggressive behavior and DNA methylation level at 411,169 autosomal sites was tested. Association analyses in the entire cohort showed top sites at cg01792876 (chr8; 116,684,801, nearest gene = TRPS1, p = 7.6 × 10
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-698
Number of pages13
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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