Heritability estimates of the Big Five personality traits based on common genetic variants.
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According to twin studies, the Big Five personality traits have substantial heritable components explaining 40-60% of the variance, but identification of associated genetic variants has remained elusive. Consequently, knowledge regarding the molecular genetic architecture of personality and to what extent it is shared across the different personality traits is limited. Using genomic-relatedness-matrix residual maximum likelihood analysis (GREML), we here estimated the heritability of the Big Five personality factors (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness for experience) in a sample of 5011 European adults from 527,469 single-nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome. We tested for the heritability of each personality trait, as well as for the genetic overlap between the personality factors. We found significant and substantial heritability estimates for neuroticism (15%, s.e. = 0.08, P = 0.04) and openness (21%, s.e. = 0.08, P < 0.01), but not for extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The bivariate analyses showed that the variance explained by common variants entirely overlapped between neuroticism and openness (rG = 1.00, P < 0.001), despite low phenotypic correlation (r = - 0.09, P < 0.001), suggesting that the remaining unique heritability may be determined by rare or structural variants. As far as we are aware of, this is the first study estimating the shared and unique heritability of all Big Five personality traits using the GREML approach. Findings should be considered exploratory and suggest that detectable heritability estimates based on common variants is shared between neuroticism and openness to experiences.
AuthorsPower, RA; Pluess, M
- Psychology