Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment

Augustine Kong*, Michael L. Frigge, Gudmar Thorleifsson, Hreinn Stefansson, Alexander I. Young, Florian Zink, Gudrun A. Jonsdottir, Aysu Okbay, Patrick Sulem, Gisli Masson, Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, Agnar Helgason, Gyda Bjornsdottir, Unnur Thorsteinsdottir, Kari Stefansson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Epidemiological and genetic association studies show that genetics play an important role in the attainment of education. Here, we investigate the effect of this genetic component on the reproductive history of 109,120 Icelanders and the consequent impact on the gene pool over time. We show that an educational attainment polygenic score, POLYEDU, constructed from results of a recent study is associated with delayed reproduction (P < 10-100) and fewer children overall. The effect is stronger for women and remains highly significant after adjusting for educational attainment. Based on 129,808 Icelanders born between 1910 and 1990, we find that the average POLYEDU has been declining at a rate of ∼0.010 standard units per decade, which is substantial on an evolutionary timescale. Most importantly, because POLYEDU only captures a fraction of the overall underlying genetic component the latter could be declining at a rate that is two to three times faster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E727-E732
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Educational attainment
  • Fertility
  • Genes
  • Selection
  • Sequence variants

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this