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Gene-based association analysis identified 190 genes with polymorphisms affecting neuroticism

By Nadezhda M Belonogova, Irina V Zorkoltseva, Yakov A. Tsepilov, Tatiana I Axenovich

Posted 07 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.06.240721

Recent genome-wide studies have reported about 600 genes potentially influencing neuroticism. Little is known about the mechanisms of their action. Here, we aimed to conduct a more detailed analysis of genes whose polymorphisms can regulate the level of neuroticism. Using UK Biobank-based GWAS summary statistics, we performed a gene-based association analysis using four sets of genetic variants within a gene differing in their protein coding properties. To guard against the influence of strong GWAS signals outside the gene, we used the specially designed procedure. As a result, we identified 190 genes associated with neuroticism due to their polymorphisms. Thirty eight of these genes were novel. Within all genes identified, we distinguished two slightly overlapping groups comprising genes that demonstrated association when using protein-coding and non-coding SNPs. Many genes from the first group included potentially pathogenic variants. For some genes from the second group, we found evidence of pleiotropy with gene expression. We demonstrated that the association of almost two hundred known genes could be inflated by the GWAS signals outside the gene. Using bioinformatics analysis, we prioritized the neuroticism genes and showed that the genes influencing the trait by their polymorphisms are the most appropriate candidate genes. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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