Blood-based epigenome-wide analyses of cognitive abilities
Daniel L. McCartney,
Robert F Hillary,
Eleanor LS Conole,
Danni A Gadd,
Alison D Murray,
Maria del C. Valdes-Hernandez,
Mathew A Harris,
Sarah E Harris,
David J Porteous,
Elliot M Tucker-Drob,
Andrew M McIntosh,
Kathryn L Evans,
Ian J Deary,
Simon R Cox,
Matthew Richard Robinson,
Riccardo E Marioni
Posted 25 May 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.24.21257698
Posted 25 May 2021
Using blood-based epigenome-wide analyses of general cognitive function (g; n=9,162) we show that individual differences in DNA methylation (DNAm) explain 35.0% of the variance in g. A DNAm predictor explains ~4% of the variance in g, independently of a polygenic score, in two external cohorts. It also associates with circulating levels of neurology- and inflammation-related proteins, global brain imaging metrics, and regional cortical volumes. As sample sizes increase, our ability to assess cognitive function from DNAm data may be informative in settings where cognitive testing is unreliable or unavailable.
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