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PLoS One. 2010 Jul 9;5(7):e11504. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011504.

A genome-wide association study of neuroticism in a population-based sample.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


Neuroticism is a moderately heritable personality trait considered to be a risk factor for developing major depression, anxiety disorders and dementia. We performed a genome-wide association study in 2,235 participants drawn from a population-based study of neuroticism, making this the largest association study for neuroticism to date. Neuroticism was measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. After Quality Control, we analysed 430,000 autosomal SNPs together with an additional 1.2 million SNPs imputed with high quality from the Hap Map CEU samples. We found a very small effect of population stratification, corrected using one principal component, and some cryptic kinship that required no correction. NKAIN2 showed suggestive evidence of association with neuroticism as a main effect (p < 10(-6)) and GPC6 showed suggestive evidence for interaction with age (p approximately = 10(-7)). We found support for one previously-reported association (PDE4D), but failed to replicate other recent reports. These results suggest common SNP variation does not strongly influence neuroticism. Our study was powered to detect almost all SNPs explaining at least 2% of heritability, and so our results effectively exclude the existence of loci having a major effect on neuroticism.

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