Many genes in humans are associated with behavior, including educational attainment. In a genome-wide association study involving 101,069 subjects and a replication sample of 25,490, Rietveld and colleagues looked for genes related to educational attainment in Caucasians. Small genetic effects at three loci appeared to impact educational attainment.
Three independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genome-wide significant (rs9320913, rs11584700, rs4851266). All three replicated and estimated effects sizes were small. Genes in the region of the loci have previously been associated with health, cognitive, and central nervous system phenotypes, and bioinformatics analyses suggest the involvement of the anterior caudate nucleus. The authors suggest that these findings provide promising candidate SNPs for follow-up work, and that their effect size estimates can anchor power analyses in social-science genetics.
Rietveld CA et al.: GWAS of 126,559 Individuals Identifies Genetic Variants Associated with Educational Attainment. Science 340(6139): 1467-1471 (2013).