Common Genetic Variants Explain the Majority of the Correlation Between Height and Intelligence: The Generation Scotland Study

Riccardo E. Marioni*, G. David Batty, Caroline Hayward, Shona M. Kerr, Archie Campbell, Lynne J. Hocking, Generation Scotland, David J. Porteous, Peter M. Visscher, Ian J. Deary

*Corresponding author for this work

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Greater height and higher intelligence test scores are predictors of better health outcomes. Here, we used molecular (single-nucleotide polymorphism) data to estimate the genetic correlation between height and general intelligence (g) in 6,815 unrelated subjects (median age 57, IQR 49-63) from the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study cohort. The phenotypic correlation between height and g was 0.16 (SE 0.01). The genetic correlation between height and g was 0.28 (SE 0.09) with a bivariate heritability estimate of 0.71. Understanding the molecular basis of the correlation between height and intelligence may help explain any shared role in determining health outcomes. This study identified a modest genetic correlation between height and intelligence with the majority of the phenotypic correlation being explained by shared genetic influences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • height
  • intelligence
  • molecular genetics
  • genetic correlation
  • Generation Scotland
  • Scottish family health
  • heritability
  • metaanalysis
  • association
  • pleiotrpy
  • childhood
  • disease
  • samples
  • cohort

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