Preprint Article Version 1 NOT YET PEER-REVIEWED

Evidence for Recent Polygenic Selection on Educational Attainment Inferred from GWAS Hits

  1. Department of Psychology, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
Version 1 : Received: 6 November 2016 / Approved: 8 November 2016 / Online: 8 November 2016 (10:08:15 CET)

How to cite: Piffer, D. Evidence for Recent Polygenic Selection on Educational Attainment Inferred from GWAS Hits. Preprints 2016, 2016110047 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201611.0047.v1). Piffer, D. Evidence for Recent Polygenic Selection on Educational Attainment Inferred from GWAS Hits. Preprints 2016, 2016110047 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201611.0047.v1).

Abstract

The genetic variants identified by three large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of educational attainment were used to test a polygenic selection model. Average frequencies of alleles with positive effect (polygenic scores or PS) were compared across populations (N=26) using data from 1000 Genomes. The PS of 161 GWAS significant SNPs in a recent meta-analysis was highly correlated to population IQ (r=0.863) and to the polygenic score of four alleles independently associated with general cognitive ability. High  correlations with PISA scores for a subsample were observed.SNP p value predicted correlation to population IQ and factors from the two previous GWAS (r= -.25). Factor analysis produced similar estimates of selection pressure for educational attainment across the three datasets. Polygenic and factor scores computed using the top 20 significant SNPs showed very high correlation to population IQ (r=0.88; 0.9). Similar findings were obtained using 52 populations from another database (ALFRED). The results together constitute a replication of preliminary findings and provide strong evidence for recent diversifying polygenic selection on educational attainment and underlying cognitive ability.

Subject Areas

educational attainment; polygenes; polygenic selection; GWAS

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