Genome-wide association analysis of eating disorder-related symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits

Vesna Boraska, Oliver S P Davis, Lynn F Cherkas, Sietske G Helder, Juliette Harris, Isabel Krug, Thomas Pei-Chi Liao, Janet Treasure, Ioanna Ntalla, Leila Karhunen, Anna Keski-Rahkonen, Danai Christakopoulou, Anu Raevuori, So-Youn Shin, George V Dedoussis, Jaakko Kaprio, Nicole Soranzo, Tim D Spector, David A Collier, Eleftheria Zeggini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Eating disorders (EDs) are common, complex psychiatric disorders thought to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. They share many symptoms, behaviors, and personality traits, which may have overlapping heritability. The aim of the present study is to perform a genome-wide association scan (GWAS) of six ED phenotypes comprising three symptom traits from the Eating Disorders Inventory 2 [Drive for Thinness (DT), Body Dissatisfaction (BD), and Bulimia], Weight Fluctuation symptom, Breakfast Skipping behavior and Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder trait (CHIRP). Investigated traits were derived from standardized self-report questionnaires completed by the TwinsUK population-based cohort. We tested 283,744 directly typed SNPs across six phenotypes of interest in the TwinsUK discovery dataset and followed-up signals from various strata using a two-stage replication strategy in two independent cohorts of European ancestry. We meta-analyzed a total of 2,698 individuals for DT, 2,680 for BD, 2,789 (821 cases/1,968 controls) for Bulimia, 1,360 (633 cases/727 controls) for Childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder trait, 2,773 (761 cases/2,012 controls) for Breakfast Skipping, and 2,967 (798 cases/2,169 controls) for Weight Fluctuation symptom. In this GWAS analysis of six ED-related phenotypes, we detected association of eight genetic variants with P?<?10-5. Genetic variants that showed suggestive evidence of association were previously associated with several psychiatric disorders and ED-related phenotypes. Our study indicates that larger-scale collaborative studies will be needed to achieve the necessary power to detect loci underlying ED-related traits. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-811
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics. Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Aged
  • Breakfast
  • Bulimia
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Compulsive Personality Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Human
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


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