Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated with Reading Ability Show Connection to Socio-Economic Outcomes

Luciano, Michelle, Hagenaars, Saskia P. , Cox, Simon R. , Hill, William David , Davies, Gail , Harris, Sarah E. , Deary, Ian J. , Evans, David M. , Martin, Nicholas G. , Wright, Margaret J.  and Bates, Timothy C.  (2017) Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated with Reading Ability Show Connection to Socio-Economic Outcomes. Behavior Genetics, 47 5: 469-479. doi:10.1007/s10519-017-9859-x

Author Luciano, Michelle
Hagenaars, Saskia P. 
Cox, Simon R. 
Hill, William David 
Davies, Gail 
Harris, Sarah E. 
Deary, Ian J. 
Evans, David M. 
Martin, Nicholas G. 
Wright, Margaret J. 
Bates, Timothy C. 
Title Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated with Reading Ability Show Connection to Socio-Economic Outcomes
Journal name Behavior Genetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1573-3297
Publication date 2017-07-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10519-017-9859-x
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 47
Issue 5
Start page 469
End page 479
Total pages 11
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
1311 Genetics
2716 Genetics (clinical)
Abstract Impairments in reading and in language have negative consequences on life outcomes, but it is not known to what extent genetic effects influence this association. We constructed polygenic scores for difficulties with language and learning to read from genome-wide data in ~6,600 children, adolescents and young adults, and tested their association with health, socioeconomic outcomes and brain structure measures collected in adults (maximal N = 111,749). Polygenic risk of reading difficulties was associated with reduced income, educational attainment, self-rated health and verbal-numerical reasoning (p < 0.00055). Polygenic risk of language difficulties predicted income (p = 0.0005). The small effect sizes ranged 0.01–0.03 of a standard deviation, but these will increase as genetic studies for reading ability get larger. Polygenic scores for childhood cognitive ability and educational attainment were correlated with polygenic scores of reading and language (up to 0.09 and 0.05, respectively). But when they were included in the prediction models, the observed associations between polygenic reading and adult outcomes mostly remained. This suggests that the pathway from reading ability to social outcomes is not only via associated polygenic loads for general cognitive function and educational attainment. The presence of non-overlapping genetic effect is indicated by the genetic correlations of around 0.40 (childhood intelligence) and 0.70 (educational attainment) with reading ability. Mendelian randomization approaches will be important to dissociate any causal and moderating effects of reading and related traits on social outcomes.
Keyword Cross-trait linkage disequilibrium regression
Genetic correlation
Polygenic scores
UK Biobank
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Sub-type: Article (original research)
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