Publications by authors named "Gyda Bjornsdottir"

41 Publications

A genome-wide meta-analysis uncovers six sequence variants conferring risk of vertigo.

Commun Biol 2021 10 7;4(1):1148. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Vertigo is the leading symptom of vestibular disorders and a major risk factor for falls. In a genome-wide association study of vertigo (N = 48,072, N = 894,541), we uncovered an association with six common sequence variants in individuals of European ancestry, including missense variants in ZNF91, OTOG, OTOGL, and TECTA, and a cis-eQTL for ARMC9. The association of variants in ZNF91, OTOGL, and OTOP1 was driven by an association with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Using previous reports of sequence variants associating with age-related hearing impairment and motion sickness, we found eight additional variants that associate with vertigo. Although disorders of the auditory and the vestibular system may co-occur, none of the six genome-wide significant vertigo variants were associated with hearing loss and only one was associated with age-related hearing impairment. Our results uncovered sequence variants associating with vertigo in a genome-wide association study and implicated genes with known roles in inner ear development, maintenance, and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02673-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8497462PMC
October 2021

Sequence variants in malignant hyperthermia genes in Iceland: classification and actionable findings in a population database.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Dec 31;29(12):1819-1824. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

deCODE Genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Malignant hyperthermia (MH) susceptibility is a rare life-threatening disorder that occurs upon exposure to a triggering agent. MH is commonly due to protein-altering variants in RYR1 and CACNA1S. The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics recommends that when pathogenic and likely pathogenic variants in RYR1 and CACNA1S are incidentally found, they should be reported to the carriers. The detection of actionable variants allows the avoidance of exposure to triggering agents during anesthesia. First, we report a 10-year-old Icelandic proband with a suspected MH event, harboring a heterozygous missense variant NM_000540.2:c.6710G>A r.(6710g>a) p.(Cys2237Tyr) in the RYR1 gene that is likely pathogenic. The variant is private to four individuals within a three-generation family and absent from 62,240 whole-genome sequenced (WGS) Icelanders. Haplotype sharing and WGS revealed that the variant occurred as a somatic mosaicism also present in germline of the proband's paternal grandmother. Second, using a set of 62,240 Icelanders with WGS, we assessed the carrier frequency of actionable pathogenic and likely pathogenic variants in RYR1 and CACNA1S. We observed 13 actionable variants in RYR1, based on ClinVar classifications, carried by 43 Icelanders, and no actionable variant in CACNA1S. One in 1450 Icelanders carries an actionable variant for MH. Extensive sequencing allows for better classification and precise dating of variants, and WGS of a large fraction of the population has led to incidental findings of actionable MH genotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00954-2DOI Listing
December 2021

Deciphering osteoarthritis genetics across 826,690 individuals from 9 populations.

Cell 2021 Sep 26;184(18):4784-4818.e17. Epub 2021 Aug 26.

Laboratory for Bone and Joint Diseases, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Shimane University, Shimane 693-8501, Japan.

Osteoarthritis affects over 300 million people worldwide. Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study meta-analysis across 826,690 individuals (177,517 with osteoarthritis) and identify 100 independently associated risk variants across 11 osteoarthritis phenotypes, 52 of which have not been associated with the disease before. We report thumb and spine osteoarthritis risk variants and identify differences in genetic effects between weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing joints. We identify sex-specific and early age-at-onset osteoarthritis risk loci. We integrate functional genomics data from primary patient tissues (including articular cartilage, subchondral bone, and osteophytic cartilage) and identify high-confidence effector genes. We provide evidence for genetic correlation with phenotypes related to pain, the main disease symptom, and identify likely causal genes linked to neuronal processes. Our results provide insights into key molecular players in disease processes and highlight attractive drug targets to accelerate translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.07.038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8459317PMC
September 2021

The CRTAC1 Protein in Plasma Is Associated With Osteoarthritis and Predicts Progression to Joint Replacement: A Large-Scale Proteomics Scan in Iceland.

Arthritis Rheumatol 2021 11 28;73(11):2025-2034. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

deCODE Genetics, Inc., and University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Objective: Biomarkers for diagnosis and progression of osteoarthritis (OA) are lacking. This study was undertaken to identify circulating biomarkers for OA that could predict disease occurrence and/or progression to joint replacement.

Methods: Using the SomaScan platform, we measured 4,792 proteins in plasma from 37,278 individuals, of whom 12,178 individuals had OA and 2,524 had undergone joint replacement. We performed a case-control study for identification of potential protein biomarkers for hip, knee, and/or hand OA, and a prospective study for identification of biomarkers for joint replacement.

Results: Among the large panel of plasma proteins assessed, cartilage acidic protein 1 (CRTAC1) was the most strongly associated with both OA diagnosis (odds ratio 1.46 [95% confidence interval 1.41-1.52] for knee OA, odds ratio 1.36 [95% confidence interval 1.29-1.43] for hip OA, and odds ratio 1.33 [95% confidence interval 1.26-1.40] for hand OA) and progression to joint replacement (hazard ratio 1.40 [95% confidence interval 1.30-1.51] for knee replacement and hazard ratio 1.31 [95% confidence interval 1.19-1.45] for hip replacement). Patients with OA who were in the highest quintile of risk of joint replacement, based on known risk factors (i.e., age, sex, and body mass index) and plasma CRTAC1 level, were 16 times more likely to undergo knee replacement within 5 years of plasma sample collection than those in the lowest quintile, and 6.5 times more likely to undergo hip replacement. CRTAC1 was not associated with other types of inflammatory arthritis. A specific protein profile was identified in those patients who had undergone joint replacement prior to plasma sample collection.

Conclusion: Through a hypothesis-free approach, we identified CRTAC1 in plasma as a novel promising candidate biomarker for OA that is both associated with occurrence of OA and predictive of progression to joint replacement. This biomarker might also be useful in the selection of suitable patients for clinical trial enrollment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.41793DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8596997PMC
November 2021

A meta-analysis uncovers the first sequence variant conferring risk of Bell's palsy.

Sci Rep 2021 02 18;11(1):4188. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Rigshospitalet, Kobenhavn, Denmark.

Bell's palsy is the most common cause of unilateral facial paralysis and is defined as an idiopathic and acute inability to control movements of the facial muscles on the affected side. While the pathogenesis remains unknown, previous studies have implicated post-viral inflammation and resulting compression of the facial nerve. Reported heritability estimates of 4-14% suggest a genetic component in the etiology and an autosomal dominant inheritance has been proposed. Here, we report findings from a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies uncovering the first unequivocal association with Bell's palsy (rs9357446-A; P = 6.79 × 10, OR = 1.23; N = 4714, N = 1,011,520). The variant also confers risk of intervertebral disc disorders (P = 2.99 × 10, OR = 1.04) suggesting a common pathogenesis in part or a true pleiotropy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82736-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7893061PMC
February 2021

A genome-wide meta-analysis yields 46 new loci associating with biomarkers of iron homeostasis.

Commun Biol 2021 02 3;4(1):156. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Iron is essential for many biological functions and iron deficiency and overload have major health implications. We performed a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies from Iceland, the UK and Denmark of blood levels of ferritin (N = 246,139), total iron binding capacity (N = 135,430), iron (N = 163,511) and transferrin saturation (N = 131,471). We found 62 independent sequence variants associating with iron homeostasis parameters at 56 loci, including 46 novel loci. Variants at DUOX2, F5, SLC11A2 and TMPRSS6 associate with iron deficiency anemia, while variants at TF, HFE, TFR2 and TMPRSS6 associate with iron overload. A HBS1L-MYB intergenic region variant associates both with increased risk of iron overload and reduced risk of iron deficiency anemia. The DUOX2 missense variant is present in 14% of the population, associates with all iron homeostasis biomarkers, and increases the risk of iron deficiency anemia by 29%. The associations implicate proteins contributing to the main physiological processes involved in iron homeostasis: iron sensing and storage, inflammation, absorption of iron from the gut, iron recycling, erythropoiesis and bleeding/menstruation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01575-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7859200PMC
February 2021

Sequence Variants in TAAR5 and Other Loci Affect Human Odor Perception and Naming.

Curr Biol 2020 12 8;30(23):4643-4653.e3. Epub 2020 Oct 8.

deCODE Genetics/Amgen Inc., Sturlugata 8, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland; Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Vatnsmyrarvegur 16, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland. Electronic address:

Olfactory receptor (OR) genes in humans form a special class characterized by unusually high DNA sequence diversity, which should give rise to differences in perception and behavior. In the largest genome-wide association study to date based on olfactory testing, we investigated odor perception and naming with smell tasks performed by 9,122 Icelanders, with replication in a separate sample of 2,204 individuals. We discovered an association between a low-frequency missense variant in TAAR5 and reduced intensity rating of fish odor containing trimethylamine (p.Ser95Pro, p = 5.6 × 10). We demonstrate that TAAR5 genotype affects aversion to fish odor, reflected by linguistic descriptions of the odor and pleasantness ratings. We also discovered common sequence variants in two canonical olfactory receptor loci that associate with increased intensity and naming of licorice odor (trans-anethole: lead variant p.Lys233Asn in OR6C70, p = 8.8 × 10 and p = 1.4 × 10) and enhanced naming of cinnamon (trans-cinnamaldehyde; intergenic variant rs317787-T, p = 5.0 × 10). Together, our results show that TAAR5 genotype variation influences human odor responses and highlight that sequence diversity in canonical OR genes can lead to enhanced olfactory ability, in contrast to the view that greater tolerance for mutations in the human OR repertoire leads to diminished function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.09.012DOI Listing
December 2020

Common and Rare Sequence Variants Influencing Tumor Biomarkers in Blood.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 01 30;29(1):225-235. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

deCODE genetics/AMGEN, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Background: Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), cancer antigens 15.3, 19.9, and 125, carcinoembryonic antigen, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) are widely measured in attempts to detect cancer and to monitor treatment response. However, due to lack of sensitivity and specificity, their utility is debated. The serum levels of these markers are affected by a number of nonmalignant factors, including genotype. Thus, it may be possible to improve both sensitivity and specificity by adjusting test results for genetic effects.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association studies of serum levels of AFP ( = 22,686), carcinoembryonic antigen ( = 22,309), cancer antigens 15.3 ( = 7,107), 19.9 ( = 9,945), and 125 ( = 9,824), and ALP ( = 162,774). We also examined the correlations between levels of these biomarkers and the presence of cancer, using data from a nationwide cancer registry.

Results: We report a total of 84 associations of 79 sequence variants with levels of the six biomarkers, explaining between 2.3% and 42.3% of the phenotypic variance. Among the 79 variants, 22 are cis (in- or near the gene encoding the biomarker), 18 have minor allele frequency less than 1%, 31 are coding variants, and 7 are associated with gene expression in whole blood. We also find multiple conditions associated with higher biomarker levels.

Conclusions: Our results provide insights into the genetic contribution to diversity in concentration of tumor biomarkers in blood.

Impact: Genetic correction of biomarker values could improve prediction algorithms and decision-making based on these biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-1060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6954334PMC
January 2020

A PRPH splice-donor variant associates with reduced sural nerve amplitude and risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Nat Commun 2019 04 16;10(1):1777. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Inc., 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

Nerve conduction (NC) studies generate measures of peripheral nerve function that can reveal underlying pathology due to axonal loss, demyelination or both. We perform a genome-wide association study of sural NC amplitude and velocity in 7045 Icelanders and find a low-frequency splice-donor variant in PRPH (c.996+1G>A; MAF = 1.32%) associating with decreased NC amplitude but not velocity. PRPH encodes peripherin, an intermediate filament (IF) protein involved in cytoskeletal development and maintenance of neurons. Through RNA and protein studies, we show that the variant leads to loss-of-function (LoF), as when over-expressed in a cell line devoid of other IFs, it does not allow formation of the normal filamentous structure of peripherin, yielding instead punctate protein inclusions. Recall of carriers for neurological assessment confirms that from an early age, homozygotes have significantly lower sural NC amplitude than non-carriers and are at risk of a mild, early-onset, sensory-negative, axonal polyneuropathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09719-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6468012PMC
April 2019

A loss-of-function variant in ALOX15 protects against nasal polyps and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Nat Genet 2019 02 14;51(2):267-276. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Nasal polyps (NP) are lesions on the nasal and paranasal sinus mucosa and are a risk factor for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). We performed genome-wide association studies on NP and CRS in Iceland and the UK (using UK Biobank data) with 4,366 NP cases, 5,608 CRS cases, and >700,000 controls. We found 10 markers associated with NP and 2 with CRS. We also tested 210 markers reported to associate with eosinophil count, yielding 17 additional NP associations. Of the 27 NP signals, 7 associate with CRS and 13 with asthma. Most notably, a missense variant in ALOX15 that causes a p.Thr560Met alteration in arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO) confers large genome-wide significant protection against NP (P = 8.0 × 10, odds ratio = 0.32; 95% confidence interval = 0.26, 0.39) and CRS (P = 1.1 × 10, odds ratio = 0.64; 95% confidence interval = 0.55, 0.75). p.Thr560Met, carried by around 1 in 20 Europeans, was previously shown to cause near total loss of 15-LO enzymatic activity. Our findings identify 15-LO as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in NP and CRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0314-6DOI Listing
February 2019

Association studies of up to 1.2 million individuals yield new insights into the genetic etiology of tobacco and alcohol use.

Nat Genet 2019 02 14;51(2):237-244. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

Istituto di Ricerca Genetica e Biomedica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Monserrato, Italy.

Tobacco and alcohol use are leading causes of mortality that influence risk for many complex diseases and disorders. They are heritable and etiologically related behaviors that have been resistant to gene discovery efforts. In sample sizes up to 1.2 million individuals, we discovered 566 genetic variants in 406 loci associated with multiple stages of tobacco use (initiation, cessation, and heaviness) as well as alcohol use, with 150 loci evidencing pleiotropic association. Smoking phenotypes were positively genetically correlated with many health conditions, whereas alcohol use was negatively correlated with these conditions, such that increased genetic risk for alcohol use is associated with lower disease risk. We report evidence for the involvement of many systems in tobacco and alcohol use, including genes involved in nicotinic, dopaminergic, and glutamatergic neurotransmission. The results provide a solid starting point to evaluate the effects of these loci in model organisms and more precise substance use measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0307-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6358542PMC
February 2019

Meta-analysis of Icelandic and UK data sets identifies missense variants in SMO, IL11, COL11A1 and 13 more new loci associated with osteoarthritis.

Nat Genet 2018 12 29;50(12):1681-1687. Epub 2018 Oct 29.

deCODE genetics/Amgen, Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Osteoarthritis has a highly negative impact on quality of life because of the associated pain and loss of joint function. Here we describe the largest meta-analysis so far of osteoarthritis of the hip and the knee in samples from Iceland and the UK Biobank (including 17,151 hip osteoarthritis patients, 23,877 knee osteoarthritis patients, and more than 562,000 controls). We found 23 independent associations at 22 loci in the additive meta-analyses, of which 16 of the loci were novel: 12 for hip and 4 for knee osteoarthritis. Two associations are between rare or low-frequency missense variants and hip osteoarthritis, affecting the genes SMO (rs143083812, frequency 0.11%, odds ratio (OR) = 2.8, P = 7.9 × 10, p.Arg173Cys) and IL11 (rs4252548, frequency 2.08%, OR = 1.30, P = 2.1 × 10, p.Arg112His). A common missense variant in the COL11A1 gene also associates with hip osteoarthritis (rs3753841, frequency 61%, P = 5.2 × 10, OR = 1.08, p.Pro1284Leu). In addition, using a recessive model, we confirm an association between hip osteoarthritis and a variant of CHADL (rs117018441, P = 1.8 × 10, OR = 5.9). Furthermore, we observe a complex relationship between height and risk of osteoarthritis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0247-0DOI Listing
December 2018

Relatedness disequilibrium regression estimates heritability without environmental bias.

Nat Genet 2018 09 13;50(9):1304-1310. Epub 2018 Aug 13.

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.

Heritability measures the proportion of trait variation that is due to genetic inheritance. Measurement of heritability is important in the nature-versus-nurture debate. However, existing estimates of heritability may be biased by environmental effects. Here, we introduce relatedness disequilibrium regression (RDR), a novel method for estimating heritability. RDR avoids most sources of environmental bias by exploiting variation in relatedness due to random Mendelian segregation. We used a sample of 54,888 Icelanders who had both parents genotyped to estimate the heritability of 14 traits, including height (55.4%, s.e. 4.4%) and educational attainment (17.0%, s.e. 9.4%). Our results suggest that some other estimates of heritability may be inflated by environmental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0178-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130754PMC
September 2018

The nature of nurture: Effects of parental genotypes.

Science 2018 Jan;359(6374):424-428

deCODE genetics/Amgen, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.

Sequence variants in the parental genomes that are not transmitted to a child (the proband) are often ignored in genetic studies. Here we show that nontransmitted alleles can affect a child through their impacts on the parents and other relatives, a phenomenon we call "genetic nurture." Using results from a meta-analysis of educational attainment, we find that the polygenic score computed for the nontransmitted alleles of 21,637 probands with at least one parent genotyped has an estimated effect on the educational attainment of the proband that is 29.9% ( = 1.6 × 10) of that of the transmitted polygenic score. Genetic nurturing effects of this polygenic score extend to other traits. Paternal and maternal polygenic scores have similar effects on educational attainment, but mothers contribute more than fathers to nutrition- and heath-related traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aan6877DOI Listing
January 2018

Polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder associate with addiction.

Addict Biol 2018 01 23;23(1):485-492. Epub 2017 Feb 23.

deCODE genetics/Amgen, Iceland.

We use polygenic risk scores (PRSs) for schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD) to predict smoking, and addiction to nicotine, alcohol or drugs in individuals not diagnosed with psychotic disorders. Using PRSs for 144 609 subjects, including 10 036 individuals admitted for in-patient addiction treatment and 35 754 smokers, we find that diagnoses of various substance use disorders and smoking associate strongly with PRSs for SCZ (P = 5.3 × 10 -1.4 × 10 ) and BPD (P = 1.7 × 10 -1.9 × 10 ), showing shared genetic etiology between psychosis and addiction. Using standardized scores for SCZ and BPD scaled to a unit increase doubling the risk of the corresponding disorder, the odds ratios for alcohol and substance use disorders range from 1.19 to 1.31 for the SCZ-PRS, and from 1.07 to 1.29 for the BPD-PRS. Furthermore, we show that as regular smoking becomes more stigmatized and less prevalent, these biological risk factors gain importance as determinants of the behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12496DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5811785PMC
January 2018

Sequence variant at 8q24.21 associates with sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation.

Nat Commun 2017 02 22;8:14265. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Inc., Reykjavik IS-101, Iceland.

Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is common and often debilitating. Microdiscectomy of herniated lumbar discs (LDHsurg) is performed on the most severe cases to resolve the resulting sciatica. Here we perform a genome-wide association study on 4,748 LDHsurg cases and 282,590 population controls and discover 37 highly correlated markers associating with LDHsurg at 8q24.21 (between CCDC26 and GSDMC), represented by rs6651255[C] (OR=0.81; P=5.6 × 10) with a stronger effect among younger patients than older. As rs6651255[C] also associates with height, we performed a Mendelian randomization analysis using height polygenic risk scores as instruments to estimate the effect of height on LDHsurg risk, and found that the marker's association with LDHsurg is much greater than predicted by its effect on height. In light of presented findings, we speculate that the effect of rs6651255 on LDHsurg is driven by susceptibility to developing severe and persistent sciatica upon LDH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14265DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5322534PMC
February 2017

Selection against variants in the genome associated with educational attainment.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 01 17;114(5):E727-E732. Epub 2017 Jan 17.

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik 101, Iceland;

Epidemiological and genetic association studies show that genetics play an important role in the attainment of education. Here, we investigate the effect of this genetic component on the reproductive history of 109,120 Icelanders and the consequent impact on the gene pool over time. We show that an educational attainment polygenic score, POLY constructed from results of a recent study is associated with delayed reproduction (P < 10) and fewer children overall. The effect is stronger for women and remains highly significant after adjusting for educational attainment. Based on 129,808 Icelanders born between 1910 and 1990, we find that the average POLY has been declining at a rate of ∼0.010 standard units per decade, which is substantial on an evolutionary timescale. Most importantly, because POLY only captures a fraction of the overall underlying genetic component the latter could be declining at a rate that is two to three times faster.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1612113114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5293043PMC
January 2017

Genome-wide analyses for personality traits identify six genomic loci and show correlations with psychiatric disorders.

Nat Genet 2017 01 5;49(1):152-156. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.

Personality is influenced by genetic and environmental factors and associated with mental health. However, the underlying genetic determinants are largely unknown. We identified six genetic loci, including five novel loci, significantly associated with personality traits in a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (N = 123,132-260,861). Of these genome-wide significant loci, extraversion was associated with variants in WSCD2 and near PCDH15, and neuroticism with variants on chromosome 8p23.1 and in L3MBTL2. We performed a principal component analysis to extract major dimensions underlying genetic variations among five personality traits and six psychiatric disorders (N = 5,422-18,759). The first genetic dimension separated personality traits and psychiatric disorders, except that neuroticism and openness to experience were clustered with the disorders. High genetic correlations were found between extraversion and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and between openness and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The second genetic dimension was closely aligned with extraversion-introversion and grouped neuroticism with internalizing psychopathology (e.g., depression or anxiety).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3736DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5278898PMC
January 2017

Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior.

Nat Genet 2016 12 31;48(12):1462-1472. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior-age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)-has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood. We report a large genome-wide association study of both sexes including 251,151 individuals for AFB and 343,072 individuals for NEB. We identified 12 independent loci that are significantly associated with AFB and/or NEB in a SNP-based genome-wide association study and 4 additional loci associated in a gene-based effort. These loci harbor genes that are likely to have a role, either directly or by affecting non-local gene expression, in human reproduction and infertility, thereby increasing understanding of these complex traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5695684PMC
December 2016

The genetics of blood pressure regulation and its target organs from association studies in 342,415 individuals.

Nat Genet 2016 10 12;48(10):1171-1184. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.

To dissect the genetic architecture of blood pressure and assess effects on target organ damage, we analyzed 128,272 SNPs from targeted and genome-wide arrays in 201,529 individuals of European ancestry, and genotypes from an additional 140,886 individuals were used for validation. We identified 66 blood pressure-associated loci, of which 17 were new; 15 harbored multiple distinct association signals. The 66 index SNPs were enriched for cis-regulatory elements, particularly in vascular endothelial cells, consistent with a primary role in blood pressure control through modulation of vascular tone across multiple tissues. The 66 index SNPs combined in a risk score showed comparable effects in 64,421 individuals of non-European descent. The 66-SNP blood pressure risk score was significantly associated with target organ damage in multiple tissues but with minor effects in the kidney. Our findings expand current knowledge of blood pressure-related pathways and highlight tissues beyond the classical renal system in blood pressure regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3667DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5042863PMC
October 2016

Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment.

Nature 2016 05 11;533(7604):539-42. Epub 2016 May 11.

Department of Neurology, General Hospital and Medical University Graz, Graz 8036, Austria.

Educational attainment is strongly influenced by social and other environmental factors, but genetic factors are estimated to account for at least 20% of the variation across individuals. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for educational attainment that extends our earlier discovery sample of 101,069 individuals to 293,723 individuals, and a replication study in an independent sample of 111,349 individuals from the UK Biobank. We identify 74 genome-wide significant loci associated with the number of years of schooling completed. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with educational attainment are disproportionately found in genomic regions regulating gene expression in the fetal brain. Candidate genes are preferentially expressed in neural tissue, especially during the prenatal period, and enriched for biological pathways involved in neural development. Our findings demonstrate that, even for a behavioural phenotype that is mostly environmentally determined, a well-powered GWAS identifies replicable associated genetic variants that suggest biologically relevant pathways. Because educational attainment is measured in large numbers of individuals, it will continue to be useful as a proxy phenotype in efforts to characterize the genetic influences of related phenotypes, including cognition and neuropsychiatric diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature17671DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4883595PMC
May 2016

Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses.

Nat Genet 2016 06 18;48(6):624-33. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany.

Very few genetic variants have been associated with depression and neuroticism, likely because of limitations on sample size in previous studies. Subjective well-being, a phenotype that is genetically correlated with both of these traits, has not yet been studied with genome-wide data. We conducted genome-wide association studies of three phenotypes: subjective well-being (n = 298,420), depressive symptoms (n = 161,460), and neuroticism (n = 170,911). We identify 3 variants associated with subjective well-being, 2 variants associated with depressive symptoms, and 11 variants associated with neuroticism, including 2 inversion polymorphisms. The two loci associated with depressive symptoms replicate in an independent depression sample. Joint analyses that exploit the high genetic correlations between the phenotypes (|ρ^| ≈ 0.8) strengthen the overall credibility of the findings and allow us to identify additional variants. Across our phenotypes, loci regulating expression in central nervous system and adrenal or pancreas tissues are strongly enriched for association.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884152PMC
June 2016

Neuropathic pain phenotyping by international consensus (NeuroPPIC) for genetic studies: a NeuPSIG systematic review, Delphi survey, and expert panel recommendations.

Pain 2015 Nov;156(11):2337-2353

Division of Population Health Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa INSERM U-987, Centre d'Evaluation et de Traitement de la Douleur, CHU Ambroise Paré, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, France Université Versailles Saint-Quentin, Versailles, France Division of Neurological Pain Research and Therapy, Department of Neurology, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Reykjavík, Iceland Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom Academic Unit of Palliative Care, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom The Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, McGill University, Montreal, Canada Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA Zentrum für Anästhesiologie, Intensivmedizin, Schmerztherapie und Palliativmedizin, Benedictus Krankenhaus, Tutzing, Germany Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Technische Universität München, München, Germany Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland Mutual Insurance Company Etera, Helsinki, Finland Department of Clinical Medicine, Danish Pain Research Center, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark Department of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA Pain Research, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital campus, London, United Kingdom Pain Phenomics and Genomics Lab, University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada Department of Neurology, Technion Faculty of Medicine, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel (O. van Hecke is now with Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom).

For genetic research to contribute more fully to furthering our knowledge of neuropathic pain, we require an agreed, valid, and feasible approach to phenotyping, to allow collaboration and replication in samples of sufficient size. Results from genetic studies on neuropathic pain have been inconsistent and have met with replication difficulties, in part because of differences in phenotypes used for case ascertainment. Because there is no consensus on the nature of these phenotypes, nor on the methods of collecting them, this study aimed to provide guidelines on collecting and reporting phenotypes in cases and controls for genetic studies. Consensus was achieved through a staged approach: (1) systematic literature review to identify all neuropathic pain phenotypes used in previous genetic studies; (2) Delphi survey to identify the most useful neuropathic pain phenotypes and their validity and feasibility; and (3) meeting of experts to reach consensus on the optimal phenotype(s) to be collected from patients with neuropathic pain for genetic studies. A basic "entry level" set of phenotypes was identified for any genetic study of neuropathic pain. This set identifies cases of "possible" neuropathic pain, and controls, and includes: (1) a validated symptom-based questionnaire to determine whether any pain is likely to be neuropathic; (2) body chart or checklist to identify whether the area of pain distribution is neuroanatomically logical; and (3) details of pain history (intensity, duration, any formal diagnosis). This NeuroPPIC "entry level" set of phenotypes can be expanded by more extensive and specific measures, as determined by scientific requirements and resource availability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000335DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747983PMC
November 2015

Polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder predict creativity.

Nat Neurosci 2015 Jul 8;18(7):953-5. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

1] deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Reykjavík, Iceland. [2] Department of Anthropology, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland.

We tested whether polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder would predict creativity. Higher scores were associated with artistic society membership or creative profession in both Icelandic (P = 5.2 × 10(-6) and 3.8 × 10(-6) for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder scores, respectively) and replication cohorts (P = 0.0021 and 0.00086). This could not be accounted for by increased relatedness between creative individuals and those with psychoses, indicating that creativity and psychosis share genetic roots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.4040DOI Listing
July 2015

Large-scale whole-genome sequencing of the Icelandic population.

Nat Genet 2015 May 25;47(5):435-44. Epub 2015 Mar 25.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Here we describe the insights gained from sequencing the whole genomes of 2,636 Icelanders to a median depth of 20×. We found 20 million SNPs and 1.5 million insertions-deletions (indels). We describe the density and frequency spectra of sequence variants in relation to their functional annotation, gene position, pathway and conservation score. We demonstrate an excess of homozygosity and rare protein-coding variants in Iceland. We imputed these variants into 104,220 individuals down to a minor allele frequency of 0.1% and found a recessive frameshift mutation in MYL4 that causes early-onset atrial fibrillation, several mutations in ABCB4 that increase risk of liver diseases and an intronic variant in GNAS associating with increased thyroid-stimulating hormone levels when maternally inherited. These data provide a study design that can be used to determine how variation in the sequence of the human genome gives rise to human diversity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3247DOI Listing
May 2015

Psychometric properties of the Icelandic NEO-FFI in a general population sample compared to a sample recruited for a study on the genetics of addiction.

Pers Individ Dif 2014 Feb;58

deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Personality traits are major determinants of social behavior influencing various diseases including addiction. Twin and family studies suggest personality and addiction to be under genetic influence. Identification of DNA susceptibility variants relies on valid and reliable phenotyping approaches. We present results of psychometric testing of the Icelandic NEO-FFI in a population sample (=657) and a sample recruited for a study on addiction genetics (=3,804). The Icelandic NEO-FFI demonstrated internal consistency and temporal stability. Factor analyses supported the five-factor structure. Icelandic norms were compared to American norms and language translations selected for geographical and cultural proximity to Iceland. Multiple discriminant function analysis using NEO-FFI trait scores and gender as independent variables predicted membership in recruitment groups for 47.3% of addiction study cases (=3,804), with accurate predictions made for 69.5% of individuals with treated addiction and 43.3% of their first-degree relatives. Correlations between NEO-FFI scores and the discriminant function suggested a combination of high neuroticism, low conscientiousness and low agreeableness predicted membership in the group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3885818PMC
February 2014

CNVs conferring risk of autism or schizophrenia affect cognition in controls.

Nature 2014 Jan 18;505(7483):361-6. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

1] University of Iceland, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, IS-101 Reykjavík, Iceland [2] The State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre, Digranesvegur 5, IS-200 Kópavogur, Iceland.

In a small fraction of patients with schizophrenia or autism, alleles of copy-number variants (CNVs) in their genomes are probably the strongest factors contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease. These CNVs may provide an entry point for investigations into the mechanisms of brain function and dysfunction alike. They are not fully penetrant and offer an opportunity to study their effects separate from that of manifest disease. Here we show in an Icelandic sample that a few of the CNVs clearly alter fecundity (measured as the number of children by age 45). Furthermore, we use various tests of cognitive function to demonstrate that control subjects carrying the CNVs perform at a level that is between that of schizophrenia patients and population controls. The CNVs do not all affect the same cognitive domains, hence the cognitive deficits that drive or accompany the pathogenesis vary from one CNV to another. Controls carrying the chromosome 15q11.2 deletion between breakpoints 1 and 2 (15q11.2(BP1-BP2) deletion) have a history of dyslexia and dyscalculia, even after adjusting for IQ in the analysis, and the CNV only confers modest effects on other cognitive traits. The 15q11.2(BP1-BP2) deletion affects brain structure in a pattern consistent with both that observed during first-episode psychosis in schizophrenia and that of structural correlates in dyslexia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12818DOI Listing
January 2014
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