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Journal Article

Genome-wide association analyses of risk tolerance and risky behaviors in over 1 million individuals identify hundreds of loci and shared genetic influences


Publication date

14 Jan 2019


Humans vary substantially in their willingness to take risks. In a combined sample of over 1 million individuals, we conducted
genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of general risk tolerance, adventurousness, and risky behaviors in the
driving, drinking, smoking, and sexual domains. Across all GWAS, we identified hundreds of associated loci, including 99
loci associated with general risk tolerance. We report evidence of substantial shared genetic influences across risk tolerance
and the risky behaviors: 46 of the 99 general risk tolerance loci contain a lead SNP for at least one of our other GWAS,
and general risk tolerance is genetically correlated ( rg ~ 0.25 to 0.50) with a range of risky behaviors. Bioinformatics
analyses imply that genes near SNPs associated with general risk tolerance are highly expressed in brain tissues and point
to a role for glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission. We found no evidence of enrichment for genes previously
hypothesized to relate to risk tolerance.

Published in

Nature Genetics





Drug/Alcohol Abuse, Health, Social Behaviour, Biology, and Genetics


University of Essex, Albert Sloman Library *University of Essex registered users - Campus access*


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