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A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Elliott, ML; Belsky, DW; Anderson, K; Corcoran, DL; Ge, T; Knodt, A; Prinz, JA; Sugden, K; Williams, B; Ireland, D; Poulton, R; Caspi, A ...
Published in: Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)
July 2019

People who score higher on intelligence tests tend to have larger brains. Twin studies suggest the same genetic factors influence both brain size and intelligence. This has led to the hypothesis that genetics influence intelligence partly by contributing to the development of larger brains. We tested this hypothesis using four large imaging genetics studies (combined N = 7965) with polygenic scores derived from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment, a correlate of intelligence. We conducted meta-analysis to test associations among participants' genetics, total brain volume (i.e., brain size), and cognitive test performance. Consistent with previous findings, participants with higher polygenic scores achieved higher scores on cognitive tests, as did participants with larger brains. Participants with higher polygenic scores also had larger brains. We found some evidence that brain size partly mediated associations between participants' education polygenic scores and their cognitive test performance. Effect sizes were larger in the population-based samples than in the convenience-based samples. Recruitment and retention of population-representative samples should be a priority for neuroscience research. Findings suggest promise for studies integrating GWAS discoveries with brain imaging to understand neurobiology linking genetics with cognitive performance.

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Published In

Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)

DOI

EISSN

1460-2199

ISSN

1047-3211

Publication Date

July 2019

Volume

29

Issue

8

Start / End Page

3496 / 3504

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Organ Size
  • New Zealand
  • Multifactorial Inheritance
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Intelligence
 

Citation

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ICMJE
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Elliott, M. L., Belsky, D. W., Anderson, K., Corcoran, D. L., Ge, T., Knodt, A., … Hariri, A. R. (2019). A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains. Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 29(8), 3496–3504. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy219
Elliott, Maxwell L., Daniel W. Belsky, Kevin Anderson, David L. Corcoran, Tian Ge, Annchen Knodt, Joseph A. Prinz, et al. “A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains.Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) 29, no. 8 (July 2019): 3496–3504. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy219.
Elliott ML, Belsky DW, Anderson K, Corcoran DL, Ge T, Knodt A, et al. A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains. Cerebral cortex (New York, NY : 1991). 2019 Jul;29(8):3496–504.
Elliott, Maxwell L., et al. “A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains.Cerebral Cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), vol. 29, no. 8, July 2019, pp. 3496–504. Epmc, doi:10.1093/cercor/bhy219.
Elliott ML, Belsky DW, Anderson K, Corcoran DL, Ge T, Knodt A, Prinz JA, Sugden K, Williams B, Ireland D, Poulton R, Caspi A, Holmes A, Moffitt T, Hariri AR. A Polygenic Score for Higher Educational Attainment is Associated with Larger Brains. Cerebral cortex (New York, NY : 1991). 2019 Jul;29(8):3496–3504.
Journal cover image

Published In

Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)

DOI

EISSN

1460-2199

ISSN

1047-3211

Publication Date

July 2019

Volume

29

Issue

8

Start / End Page

3496 / 3504

Related Subject Headings

  • Young Adult
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Organ Size
  • New Zealand
  • Multifactorial Inheritance
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Intelligence