GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment

Cornelius A Rietveld, Sarah E Medland, Jaime Derringer, Jian Yang, Tõnu Esko, Nicolas W Martin, Harm-Jan Westra, Konstantin Shakhbazov, Abdel Abdellaoui, Arpana Agrawal, Eva Albrecht, Behrooz Z Alizadeh, Najaf Amin, John Barnard, Sebastian E Baumeister, Kelly S Benke, Lawrence F Bielak, Jeffrey A Boatman, Patricia A Boyle, Gail DaviesChristiaan de Leeuw, Niina Eklund, Daniel S Evans, Rudolf Ferhmann, Krista Fischer, Christian Gieger, Håkon K Gjessing, Sara Hägg, Jennifer R Harris, Caroline Hayward, Christina Holzapfel, Carla A Ibrahim-Verbaas, Erik Ingelsson, Bo Jacobsson, Peter K Joshi, Astanand Jugessur, Marika Kaakinen, Stavroula Kanoni, Juha Karjalainen, Ivana Kolcic, Kati Kristiansson, Zoltán Kutalik, Jari Lahti, Sang H Lee, Peng Lin, Penelope A Lind, Yongmei Liu, Lydia Quaye, Lynn Cherkas, Juliette M Harris, LifeLines Cohort Study

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581 Citations (Scopus)


A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of educational attainment was conducted in a discovery sample of 101,069 individuals and a replication sample of 25,490. Three independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are genome-wide significant (rs9320913, rs11584700, rs4851266), and all three replicate. Estimated effects sizes are small (coefficient of determination R(2) ≈ 0.02%), approximately 1 month of schooling per allele. A linear polygenic score from all measured SNPs accounts for ≈2% of the variance in both educational attainment and cognitive function. Genes in the region of the loci have previously been associated with health, cognitive, and central nervous system phenotypes, and bioinformatics analyses suggest the involvement of the anterior caudate nucleus. These findings provide promising candidate SNPs for follow-up work, and our effect size estimates can anchor power analyses in social-science genetics.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)1467-1471
Number of pages5
Issue number6139
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2013


  • Cognition
  • Educational Status
  • Endophenotypes
  • Female
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multifactorial Inheritance
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


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