Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Meta-Analysis
. 2018 Jun;23(6):1402-1409.
doi: 10.1038/mp.2017.122. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

Genome-wide Meta-Analysis of Cognitive Empathy: Heritability, and Correlates With Sex, Neuropsychiatric Conditions and Cognition

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Meta-Analysis

Genome-wide Meta-Analysis of Cognitive Empathy: Heritability, and Correlates With Sex, Neuropsychiatric Conditions and Cognition

V Warrier et al. Mol Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

We conducted a genome-wide meta-analysis of cognitive empathy using the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' Test (Eyes Test) in 88,056 research volunteers of European Ancestry (44,574 females and 43,482 males) from 23andMe Inc., and an additional 1497 research volunteers of European Ancestry (891 females and 606 males) from the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study. We confirmed a female advantage on the Eyes Test (Cohen's d=0.21, P<2.2 × 10-16), and identified a locus in 3p26.1 that is associated with scores on the Eyes Test in females (rs7641347, Pmeta=1.58 × 10-8). Common single nucleotide polymorphisms explained 5.8% (95% CI: 4.5%-7.2%; P=1.00 × 10-17) of the total trait variance in both sexes, and we identified a twin heritability of 28% (95% CI: 13%-42%). Finally, we identified significant genetic correlation between the Eyes Test and anorexia nervosa, openness (NEO-Five Factor Inventory), and different measures of educational attainment and cognitive aptitude.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest

David A Hinds and Nadia Litterman are employees of 23andMe, Inc.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the study protocol
88,056 Caucasian participants from 23andMe, Inc. completed the full version of the Eyes Test and were genotyped. An additional 1,497 Caucasian participants from the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study completed the short version (14 questions) of the Eyes Test and genotyped. Genome-wide association meta-analysis was performed on the combined cohort of 89553 participants. Three separate meta-analyses were performed: males-only, females-only, and non-stratified. Subsequently, functional enrichment and gene-based analysis was performed for the non-stratified meta-analysis GWAS using the 23andMe dataset. SNP heritability and genetic correlation using LDSR was performed for the 23andMe GWAS dataset. Sex differences were also investigated using the same dataset. In parallel, twin heritability was calculated from 749 twin individuals from the Brisbane Longitudinal Twin Study who had completed the short version of the Eyes Test.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Genetic correlations between the Eyes Test and psychiatric conditions, psychological traits and subcortical brain volumes
Genetic correlations and standard errors for the Eyes Test in the 23andMe cohort. Figures above the bars represent P-values. All P-values with p < 0.05 provided. * represents significant genetic correlations after Bonferroni correction. Point estimate represents the genetic correlation, and the error bars represent the standard errors. BPD features is borderline personality disorder features, ICV is intracranial volume. We have removed the genetic correlation for agreeableness from this figure due to the high standard errors. The genetic correlations, standard errors, and P-values for all traits including agreeableness are provided in Supplementary Table 5.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Manhattan plot and regional association plot for the Eyes Test (females) meta-analysis GWAS
A. Manhattan plot of the Eyes Test meta-analysis (female). X axis is the chromosomal position of the SNP, and Y axis is the negative logarithm of the P-value. The red line indicates genome-wide significant threshold of 5x10-8. Lead SNP for all loci with P < 1x10-6 is provided. n = 44,574, and λgc = 1.05. LDSR intercept = 1.05. Regional association plot of the significant locus for the Eyes Test (females) meta-analysis.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Mean scores and SNP heritability
4A. Mean phenotypic scores and standard deviations for the Eyes Test in the 23andMe cohort. Point estimate provides the mean score, and the error bars represent standard deviations. Difference in mean scores between males and females was highly significant (P < 2.2E-16; Cohen’s d = 0.21). Numbers in brackets indicate the number of participants in each GWAS. All: non-stratified GWAS; Females: Females-only GWAS; Males: Males-only GWAS. 4B. Mean SNP heritability estimates and standard errors for the Eyes Test in the GWAMA. Point estimate provides mean SNP heritability, and error bar represents standard errors. There was no significant difference in SNP heritability estimates between males and females (P = 0.79). Numbers in brackets indicate the number of participants in each GWAMA. All: non-stratified GWAMA; Females: Females-only GWAMA; Males: Males-only GWAMA

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 15 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

Feedback