Apr 28, 2016

Genome-wide analyses of empathy and systemizing: correlations with psychiatric conditions, psychological traits, and education

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
V WarrierSimon Baron-Cohen


Background: Empathy and systemizing are dimensions of individual differences in cognition, and reveal areas of difficulty or strength in different psychiatric conditions. However, it is unclear how they contribute to genetic risk or resilience in various psychiatric conditions. Methods: Here we report the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date of empathy and systemizing using the Empathy Quotient (EQ) (n = 46,861) and the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R) (n = 51,564) in participants from 23andMe, Inc. Results: Both traits had a modest but significant narrow-sense heritability (EQ: 0.11; se = 0.014; P= 1.7x10-14 and SQ-R: 0.12; se = 0.012; P=1.2x10-20). As predicted, based on earlier work, we confirmed a female-advantage on the EQ and a male-advantage on the SQ-R in our large sample. However, we did not identify significant differences in heritability between sexes. We found significant genetic correlation between the variants conferring higher EQ scores and higher risk for schizophrenia (P\_FDRadjusted = 1.84x10-4) and anorexia nervosa (P\_FDRadjusted = 4.05x10-3), extraversion, NEO-conscientiousness, and subjective wellbeing. The genetic variants conferring higher scores for the SQ-R were correlated with highe...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genome-Wide Association Study
TMEM132C gene
Mental Test Score Assessment Scale
Psychiatry Specialty
Anorexia Symptom

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