Cognitive performance is a heritable trait with a polygenic architecture for which several associated variants have been identified using genotype-based approaches. Haplotype-based analyses are a complimentary approach that take phase and parental origin into account, and potentially provide greater statistical power to detect lower frequency variants. The current study utilised three cohorts (Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study, English Longitudinal Study of Aging and UK Biobank; n = 48,156) and conducted a genome-wide haplotype-based meta-analysis for cognition, as well as a targeted meta-analysis of several putative gene coding regions identified within previous studies. None of the analysed haplotypes provided evidence of a statistically significant association with cognition in either the individual cohorts or the meta-analysis. The haplotype with the lowest P-value overlapped with the D-amino acid oxidase activator (DAOA) gene coding region which has previously been associated with diseases known to impact upon cognitive ability. Another potentially interesting region, which was highlighted within the current genome-wide association analysis, was the butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE) gene coding region. This protein encoded by BCHE has been shown to influence the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and its role in cognition merits further investigation. The results of this study provide further evidence that there are likely to be many genetic variants of small effect contributing to the variance of cognitive ability.
- haplotype association analysis
- IQ Generation Scotland
- UK Biobank
- English Longitudinal Study of Aging