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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jan 31;114(5):E727-E732. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1612113114. Epub 2017 Jan 17.

Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment.

Author information

1
deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik 101, Iceland; kong@decode.is kari.stefansson@decode.is.
2
School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik 101, Iceland.
3
deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik 101, Iceland.
4
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7BN, United Kingdom.
5
Department of Applied Economics, Erasmus School of Applied Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
6
Institute for Behavior and Biology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3062 PA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik 101, Iceland.
8
Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik 101, Iceland.

Abstract

Epidemiological and genetic association studies show that genetics play an important role in the attainment of education. Here, we investigate the effect of this genetic component on the reproductive history of 109,120 Icelanders and the consequent impact on the gene pool over time. We show that an educational attainment polygenic score, POLYEDU, constructed from results of a recent study is associated with delayed reproduction (P < 10-100) and fewer children overall. The effect is stronger for women and remains highly significant after adjusting for educational attainment. Based on 129,808 Icelanders born between 1910 and 1990, we find that the average POLYEDU has been declining at a rate of ∼0.010 standard units per decade, which is substantial on an evolutionary timescale. Most importantly, because POLYEDU only captures a fraction of the overall underlying genetic component the latter could be declining at a rate that is two to three times faster.

KEYWORDS:

educational attainment; fertility; genes; selection; sequence variants

Comment in

PMID:
28096410
PMCID:
PMC5293043
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1612113114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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