Genome-wide analyses of self-reported empathy: correlations with autism, schizophrenia, and anorexia nervosa
the iPSYCH-Broad autism group,
the 23andMe Research Team,
David A. Hinds,
Posted 28 Apr 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/050682
Posted 28 Apr 2016
Empathy is the ability to recognize and respond to the emotional states of other individuals. It is an important psychological process that facilitates navigating social interactions and maintaining relationships, which are important for wellbeing. Several psychological studies have identified difficulties in both self-report and performance-based measures of empathy in a range of psychiatric conditions. To date, no study has systematically investigated the genetic architecture of empathy using genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Here we report the results of the largest GWAS of empathy to date using a well-validated self-report measure of empathy, the Empathy Quotient (EQ), in 46,861 research participants from 23andMe, Inc. We identify 11 suggestive loci (P < 1x10-6), though none were significant at P < 2.5x10-8 after correcting for multiple testing. The most significant SNP was identified in the non-stratified analysis (rs4882760; P = 4.29x10-8), and is an intronic SNP in TMEM132C. The EQ had a modest but significant narrow-sense heritability (0.11 se = 0.014; P = 1.7x10-14). As predicted, based on earlier work, we confirmed a significant female-advantage on the EQ (P < 2x10-16 Cohens d = 0.65). We identified similar SNP heritability and high genetic correlation between the sexes. Also, as predicted, we identified a significant negative genetic correlation between autism and the EQ (rg = -0.27, se = 0.07, P = 1.63x10-4). We also identified a significant positive genetic correlation between the EQ and risk for schizophrenia (rg = 0.19, se = 0.04; P= 1.36x10-5), risk for anorexia nervosa (rg = 0.32, se =0.09; P = 6x10-4), and extraversion (rg = 0.45, se = 0.08; 5.7x10-8). This is the first GWAS of self-reported empathy. The results suggest that the genetic variations associated with empathy also play a role in psychiatric conditions and psychological traits.
- Downloaded 2,348 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 10,220
- In genomics: 936
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 101,079
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 91,865
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!