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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Sept 2020

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