Polygenic scores associated with educational attainment in adults predict educational achievement and ADHD symptoms in children

Authors

  • Eveline L. de Zeeuw,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence to:

      E.L. de Zeeuw, MSc, Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      E-mail: el.de.zeeuw@vu.nl

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  • Catharina E.M. van Beijsterveldt,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Tina J. Glasner,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • M. Bartels,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Erik A. Ehli,

    1. Avera Institute for Human Genetics, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, Sioux Falls, SD
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  • Gareth E. Davies,

    1. Avera Institute for Human Genetics, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, Sioux Falls, SD
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  • James J. Hudziak,

    1. University of Vermont, College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
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  • Social Science Genetic Association Consortium,

  • Cornelius A. Rietveld,

    1. Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Maria M. Groen-Blokhuis,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Jouke Jan Hottenga,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Eco J.C. de Geus,

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Dorret I. Boomsma

    1. Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    2. EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest

Abstract

The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 3 to 7 per cent of all school aged children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Even after correcting for general cognitive ability, numerous studies report a negative association between ADHD and educational achievement. With polygenic scores we examined whether genetic variants that have a positive influence on educational attainment have a protective effect against ADHD. The effect sizes from a large GWA meta-analysis of educational attainment in adults were used to calculate polygenic scores in an independent sample of 12-year-old children from the Netherlands Twin Register. Linear mixed models showed that the polygenic scores significantly predicted educational achievement, school performance, ADHD symptoms and attention problems in children. These results confirm the genetic overlap between ADHD and educational achievement, indicating that one way to gain insight into genetic variants responsible for variation in ADHD is to include data on educational achievement, which are available at a larger scale. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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