Very few genetic variants have been associated with depression and neuroticism, likely because of limitations on sample size in previous studies. Subjective well-being, a phenotype that is genetically correlated with both of these traits, has not yet been studied with genome-wide data. We conducted genome-wide association studies of three phenotypes: subjective well-being (n = 298,420), depressive symptoms (n = 161,460), and neuroticism (n = 170,911). We identify 3 variants associated with subjective well-being, 2 variants associated with depressive symptoms, and 11 variants associated with neuroticism, including 2 inversion polymorphisms. The two loci associated with depressive symptoms replicate in an independent depression sample. Joint analyses that exploit the high genetic correlations between the phenotypes (|? | 0.8) strengthen the overall credibility of the findings and allow us to identify additional variants. Across our phenotypes, loci regulating expression in central nervous system and adrenal or pancreas tissues are strongly enriched for association.
Aysu Okbay, Bart M L Baselmans, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Patrick Turley, Michel G Nivard, Mark Alan Fontana, S Fleur W Meddens, Richard Karlsson Linn r & Cornelius A Rietveld, et al. Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses. Nature genetics 2016 48;6: 624 - 633 doi:10.1038/ng.3552
The social science genetic association consortium
The Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC), aim to bring together the expertise of medical geneticists and social scientists to study how a range of health-relevant outcomes are influenced by specific genetic variants, the environment (including lifestyle), and their interaction. In accessing the U.K. Biobank data, we are specifically interested in the following health-relevant outcomes: cognitive function, dementia, depression, smoking, and alcohol drinking.
Our research will contribute to quantifying how several risk factors (e.g. lifestyle, environment, genes), both separately and in combination, influence public health and well-being. Incorporating insights from the social sciences and investigating social scientific outcomes helps to achieve this objective. For example, a GWAS on subjective well-being in a very large sample could identify genetic factors associated with (absence of) depression that would not be possible to identify by studying depression directly in a much smaller sample.
1. Aysu Okbay, Jonathan P. Beauchamp, Mark Alan Fontana, James J. Lee, Tune H. Pers, Cornelius A. Rietveld & Patrick Turley, et al. Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment, doi:10.1038/nature17671
2. Aysu Okbay, Bart M L Baselmans, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Patrick Turley, Michel G Nivard, Mark Alan Fontana, S Fleur W Meddens, Richard Karlsson Linn r & Cornelius A Rietveld, et al. Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses.
|Lead investigator:||Daniel Benjamin|
|Lead institution:||University of Southern California|