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Looking for Sunshine: Genetic Predisposition to Sun-Seeking in 265,000 Individuals of European Ancestry

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Marianna Sanna, Xin Li, Alessia Visconti, Maxim B Freidin, Chiara Sacco, Simone Ribero, Pirro Hysi, Veronique Bataille, Jiali Han, Mario Falchi

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
E-pub ahead of print10 Sep 2020

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Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


King's Authors


Despite growing public awareness of the adverse consequences of excessive sun exposure, modifying sun-seeking behavior is challenging because it appears to be driven by addictive mechanisms. This can have effects on health because sun exposure, although beneficial, when prolonged and repeated shows a causal relationship with skin cancer risk. Using data from 2,500 United Kingdom twins, we observed sun seeking to be significantly heritable (h2 ≥ 58%). In a GWAS meta-analysis of sun-seeking behavior in 261,915 subjects of European ancestry, we identified five GWAS-significant loci previously associated with addiction, behavioral and personality traits, cognitive function, and educational attainment and enriched for CNS gene expression: MIR2113 (P = 2.08 × 10 −11), FAM76B/MTMR2/CEP57 (P = 3.70 × 10 −9), CADM2 (P = 9.36 × 10 −9), TMEM182 (P = 1.64 × 10 −8), and PLCL1/LINC01923/SATB2 (P = 3.93 × 10 −8). These findings imply that the behavior concerning UV exposure is complicated by a genetic predisposition shared with neuropsychological traits. This should be taken into consideration when designing awareness campaigns and may help improve people's attitudes toward sun exposure.

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