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.
Human longevity is heritable, but genome-wide association (GWA) studies have had limited success. Here, we perform two meta-analyses of GWA studies of a rigorous longevity phenotype definition including 11,262/3484 cases surviving at or beyond the age corresponding to the 90th/99th survival percentile, respectively, and 25,483 controls whose age at death or at last contact was at or below the age corresponding to the 60th survival percentile. Consistent with previous reports, rs429358 (apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4) is associated with lower odds of surviving to the 90th and 99th percentile age, while rs7412 (ApoE ε2) shows the opposite. Moreover, rs7676745, located near GPR78 , associates with lower odds of surviving to the 90th percentile age. Gene-level association analysis reveals a role for tissue-specific expression of multiple genes in longevity. Finally, genetic correlation of the longevity GWA results with that of several disease-related phenotypes points to a shared genetic architecture between health and longevity.
The genetic contribution to the variation in human lifespan is ∼25%. Despite the large number of identified disease-susceptibility loci, it is not known which loci influence population mortality. We performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 7729 long-lived individuals of European descent (≥85 years) and 16 121 younger controls (<65 years) followed by replication in an additional set of 13 060 long-lived individuals and 61 156 controls. In addition, we performed a subset analysis in cases aged ≥90 years. We observed genome-wide significant association with longevity, as reflected by survival to ages beyond 90 years, at a novel locus, rs2149954, on chromosome 5q33.3 (OR = 1.10, P = 1.74 × 10−8). We also confirmed association of rs4420638 on chromosome 19q13.32 (OR = 0.72, P = 3.40 × 10−36), representing the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 locus. In a prospective meta-analysis (n = 34 103), the minor allele of rs2149954 (T) on chromosome 5q33.3 associates with increased survival (HR = 0.95, P = 0.003). This allele has previously been reported to associate with low blood pressure in middle age. Interestingly, the minor allele (T) associates with decreased cardiovascular mortality risk, independent of blood pressure. We report on the first GWAS-identified longevity locus on chromosome 5q33.3 influencing survival in the general European population. The minor allele of this locus associates with low blood pressure in middle age, although the contribution of this allele to survival may be less dependent on blood pressure. Hence, the pleiotropic mechanisms by which this intragenic variation contributes to lifespan regulation have to be elucidated.
Only two genome-wide significant loci associated with longevity have been identified so far, probably because of insufficient sample sizes of centenarians, whose genomes may harbor genetic variants associated with health and longevity. Here we report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of Han Chinese with a sample size 2.7 times the largest previously published GWAS on centenarians. We identified 11 independent loci associated with longevity replicated in Southern-Northern regions of China, including two novel loci (rs2069837-IL6; rs2440012-ANKRD20A9P) with genome-wide significance and the rest with suggestive significance (P < 3.65 × 10−5). Eight independent SNPs overlapped across Han Chinese, European and U.S. populations, and APOE and 5q33.3 were replicated as longevity loci. Integrated analysis indicates four pathways (starch, sucrose and xenobiotic metabolism; immune response and inflammation; MAPK; calcium signaling) highly associated with longevity (P ≤ 0.006) in Han Chinese. The association with longevity of three of these four pathways (MAPK; immunity; calcium signaling) is supported by findings in other human cohorts. Our novel finding on the association of starch, sucrose and xenobiotic metabolism pathway with longevity is consistent with the previous results from Drosophilia. This study suggests protective mechanisms including immunity and nutrient metabolism and their interactions with environmental stress play key roles in human longevity.
Recent studies of mammalian genomes have uncovered the extent of copy number variation (CNV) that contributes to phenotypic diversity, including health and disease status. Here we report a first account of CNVs in the pig genome covering part of the chromosomes 4, 7, 14, and 17 already sequenced and assembled. A custom tiling oligonucleotide array was used with a median probe spacing of 409 bp for screening 12 unrelated Duroc boars that are founders of a large family material. After a strict CNV calling pipeline, 37 copy number variable regions (CNVRs) across all four chromosomes were identified, with five CNVRs overlapping segmental duplications, three overlapping pig unigenes and one overlapping a RefSeq pig mRNA. This CNV snapshot analysis is the first of its kind in the porcine genome and constitutes the basis for a better understanding of porcine phenotypes and genotypes with the prospect of identifying important economic traits.
Estimates from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) represent a combination of the effect of inherited genetic variation (direct effects), demography (population stratification, assortative mating) and genetic nurture from relatives (indirect genetic effects). GWAS using family-based designs can control for demography and indirect genetic effects, but large-scale family datasets have been lacking. We combined data on 159,701 siblings from 17 cohorts to generate population (between-family) and within-sibship (within-family) estimates of genome-wide genetic associations for 25 phenotypes. We demonstrate that existing GWAS associations for height, educational attainment, smoking, depressive symptoms, age at first birth and cognitive ability overestimate direct effects. We show that estimates of SNP-heritability, genetic correlations and Mendelian randomization involving these phenotypes substantially differ when calculated using within-sibship estimates. For example, genetic correlations between educational attainment and height largely disappear. In contrast, analyses of most clinical phenotypes (e.g. LDL-cholesterol) were generally consistent between population and within-sibship models. We also report compelling evidence of polygenic adaptation on taller human height using within-sibship data. Large-scale family datasets provide new opportunities to quantify direct effects of genetic variation on human traits and diseases.
1. SUMMARY Telomerase is of key importance for telomere maintenance and variants of the genes encoding its major subunits, TERT and TERC, are candidates for inter-individual variation in telomere length. Recently, the two SNPs rs3772190 and rs12696304 in the TERC locus were reported to be associated with leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in two genome-wide association studies, while one haplotype of TERT (rs2853669, rs2736098, rs33954691, and rs2853691) has been reported to be associated with both LTL and longevity in a candidate gene study. In this study we investigated the two TERC and four TERT SNPs in middle-aged, old, and oldest-old Danes (58–100 years) and their association with LTL (n=864) and longevity (n=1069). Furthermore, data on 11 TERT tagging SNPs in 1089 oldest-old and 736 middle-aged Danes were investigated with respect to longevity. For all SNPs, the association with longevity was investigated using both a cross-sectional and a longitudinal approach. Applying an additive model we found association of LTL with the minor TERC alleles of rs3772190 (A) and rs12696304 (G), such that a shorter LTL was seen in rs3772190 A carriers (regression coefficient = −0.08, p = 0.011) and in male rs12696304 G carriers (regression coefficient = −0.13, p = 0.014). No TERT variations showed association. Moreover, the A allele of rs3772190 (TERC) was found to be associated with longevity (HR (AG+AA) = 1.31, p = 0.006). No associations with longevity were observed for the TERT SNPs or haplotypes. Our study, thus, indicates that TERC is associated with both LTL and longevity in humans.
Background Biological aging estimators derived from DNA methylation data are heritable and correlate with morbidity and mortality. Consequently, identification of genetic and environmental contributors to the variation in these measures in populations has become a major goal in the field. Results Leveraging DNA methylation and SNP data from more than 40,000 individuals, we identify 137 genome-wide significant loci, of which 113 are novel, from genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses of four epigenetic clocks and epigenetic surrogate markers for granulocyte proportions and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 levels, respectively. We find evidence for shared genetic loci associated with the Horvath clock and expression of transcripts encoding genes linked to lipid metabolism and immune function. Notably, these loci are independent of those reported to regulate DNA methylation levels at constituent clock CpGs. A polygenic score for GrimAge acceleration showed strong associations with adiposity-related traits, educational attainment, parental longevity, and C-reactive protein levels. Conclusion This study illuminates the genetic architecture underlying epigenetic aging and its shared genetic contributions with lifestyle factors and longevity.
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