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Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
Exposure to stressful life events increases the risk of developing a psychotic disorder. Moreover, increased reactivity to stress seems to represent part of the vulnerability for psychosis. This study aimed to investigate whether a functional polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT Val158Met) gene moderates the psychosis-inducing effects of stress.
A semi-experimental stress exposure paradigm was used in a sample of 306 genotyped young men (aged 19–24 years), in whom measures of psychotic symptoms were obtained at recruitment in the Greek army (exposed condition) and again after 18 months of military training (unexposed condition).
Stress exposure at army induction was associated with an increased level of psychotic symptoms. In addition, carriers of the COMT Val158Met Val allele were more susceptible to the effect of stress on the psychosis outcome than those with the Met/Met genotype (test for interaction: χ2=5·02, df=1, p=0·025).
The COMT Val158Met genotype may moderate the effect of stress on psychotic symptoms.
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