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There is evidence that environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia spectrum disorders are transdiagnostic and mediated in part through a generic pathway of affective dysregulation.
We analysed to what degree the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk (PRS-SZ) and childhood adversity (CA) on psychosis outcomes was contingent on co-presence of affective dysregulation, defined as significant depressive symptoms, in (i) NEMESIS-2 (n = 6646), a representative general population sample, interviewed four times over nine years and (ii) EUGEI (n = 4068) a sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the siblings of these patients and controls.
The impact of PRS-SZ on psychosis showed significant dependence on co-presence of affective dysregulation in NEMESIS-2 [relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI): 1.01, p = 0.037] and in EUGEI (RERI = 3.39, p = 0.048). This was particularly evident for delusional ideation (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 1.74, p = 0.003; EUGEI: RERI = 4.16, p = 0.019) and not for hallucinatory experiences (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 0.65, p = 0.284; EUGEI: −0.37, p = 0.547). A similar and stronger pattern of results was evident for CA (RERI delusions and hallucinations: NEMESIS-2: 3.02, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 6.44, p < 0.001; RERI delusional ideation: NEMESIS-2: 3.79, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 5.43, p = 0.001; RERI hallucinatory experiences: NEMESIS-2: 2.46, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 0.54, p = 0.465).
The results, and internal replication, suggest that the effects of known genetic and non-genetic risk factors for psychosis are mediated in part through an affective pathway, from which early states of delusional meaning may arise.
Depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are associated with each other but their relationship remains unclear. We aim to determine whether genetic predisposition to depression are causally linked to CVD [including coronary artery disease (CAD), myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and atrial fibrillation (AF)].
Using summary statistics from the largest genome-wide association studies (GWAS) or GWAS meta-analysis of depression (primary analysis: n = 500 199), broad depression (help-seeking behavior for problems with nerves, anxiety, tension or depression; secondary analysis: n = 322 580), CAD (n = 184 305), MI (n = 171 875), stroke (n = 446 696) and AF (n = 1 030 836), genetic correlation was tested between two depression phenotypes and CVD [MI, stroke and AF (not CAD as its correlation was previously confirmed)]. Causality was inferred between correlated traits by Mendelian Randomization analyses.
Both depression phenotypes were genetically correlated with MI (depression: rG = 0.169; p = 9.03 × 10−9; broad depression: rG = 0.123; p = 1 × 10−4) and AF (depression: rG = 0.112; p = 7.80 × 10−6; broad depression: rG = 0.126; p = 3.62 × 10−6). Genetically doubling the odds of depression was causally associated with increased risk of CAD (OR = 1.099; 95% CI 1.031–1.170; p = 0.004) and MI (OR = 1.146; 95% CI 1.070–1.228; p = 1.05 × 10−4). Adjustment for blood lipid levels/smoking status attenuated the causality between depression and CAD/MI. Null causal association was observed for CVD on depression. A similar pattern of results was observed in the secondary analysis for broad depression.
Genetic predisposition to depression may have positive causal roles on CAD/MI. Genetic susceptibility to self-awareness of mood problems may be a strong causal risk factor of CAD/MI. Blood lipid levels and smoking may potentially mediate the causal pathway. Prevention and early diagnosis of depression are important in the management of CAD/MI.
Cook’s Petrel Pterodroma cookii is an endemic New Zealand seabird that has experienced a large range decline since the arrival of humans and now only breeds on two offshore islands (Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island and Whenua Hou/Codfish Island) at the extreme ends of its former distribution. Morphological, behavioural, and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) sequence data led a previous study to recognise the two extant populations as distinct conservation management units. Here, we further examine the genetic relationship between the extant populations using two nuclear introns (β-fibint7 and PAX). Using one mitochondrial locus (CO1), we also investigate the past distribution of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that differentiates the modern populations using bone and museum skins sourced from within its former range across New Zealand’s North and South Islands. We found significant population genetic structure between the two extant Cook’s Petrel populations for one of the two nuclear introns (β-fibint7). The mitochondrial DNA CO1 analysis indicated that the SNP variant found in the Codfish Island population was formerly widely distributed across both the North and South Islands, whereas the Little Barrier Island variant was detected only in North Island samples. We argue that these combined data support the recognition of the extant populations as different subspecies. Previous names for these taxa exist, thus Cook’s Petrel from Little Barrier Island becomes Pterodroma cookii cookii and Cook’s Petrel from Codfish Island becomes P. c. orientalis. Furthermore, we suggest that both genetic and non-genetic data should be taken into consideration when planning future mainland translocations. Namely, any translocations on the South Island should be sourced from Codfish Island and future translocations on the North Island should continue to be sourced from Little Barrier Island only.
We explored the genetic architecture of metabolic risk factors of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and their clustering in Chinese boys and girls. Seven metabolic traits (body mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC], systolic blood pressure [SBP], diastolic blood pressure [DBP], total cholesterol [TC], triglyceride [TG], and uric acid [UA]) were measured in a sample of 1016 twins between 8 and 17 years of age, recruited from the Qingdao Twin Registry. Cholesky, independent pathway, and common pathway models were used to identify the latent genetic structure behind the clustering of these metabolic traits. Genetic architecture of these metabolic traits was largely similar in boys and girls. The highest heritability was found for BMI (a2 = 0.63) in boys and TC (a2 = .69) in girls. Three heritable factors, adiposity (BMI and WC), blood pressure (SBP and DBP), and metabolite factors (TC, TG, and UA), which formed one higher-order latent phenotype, were identified. Latent genetic, common environmental, and unique environmental factors indirectly impacted the three factors through one single latent factor. Our results suggest that there is one latent factor influencing several metabolic traits, which are known risk factors of CVDs in young Chinese twins. Latent genetic, common environmental, and unique environmental factors indirectly imposed on them. These results inform strategies for gene pleiotropic discovery and intervening of CVD risk factors during childhood and adolescence.
This chapter provides an overview of genetic diversity and variation and how to measure this when studying plant genetic resources. It also describes the use of DNA markers for assessing polymorphism, studying diversity and revealing trait associations relevant for searching variation of target characters in plant breeding. The goal of this chapter is therefore to highlight various methods for analyzing the range of genetic diversity and of character variation to facilitate their further use in plant breeding. The information given herein will allow to understand genetic diversity, gene polymorphism and genetic variation; assess how various techniques – based on population and quantitative genetics – are used for assessing genetic diversity and trait variation in plant germplasm; and determine how the data generated can be effectively analyzed.
Although attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder in the latest diagnostic manuals, it shows phenotypic and genetic associations of similar magnitudes across neurodevelopmental, externalising and internalising disorders.
To investigate if ADHD is aetiologically more closely related to neurodevelopmental than externalising or internalising disorder clusters, after accounting for a general psychopathology factor.
Full and maternal half-sibling pairs (N = 774 416), born between 1980 and 1995, were identified from the Swedish Medical Birth and Multi-Generation Registers, and ICD diagnoses were obtained from the Swedish National Patient Register. A higher-order confirmatory factor analytic model was fitted to examine associations between ADHD and a general psychopathology factor, as well as a neurodevelopmental, externalising and internalising subfactor. Quantitative genetic modelling was performed to estimate the extent to which genetic, shared and non-shared environmental effects influenced the associations with ADHD.
ADHD was significantly and strongly associated with all three factors (r = 0.67–0.75). However, after controlling for a general psychopathology factor, only the association between ADHD and the neurodevelopmental-specific factor remained moderately strong (r = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.42–0.45) and was almost entirely influenced by genetic effects. In contrast, the association between ADHD and the externalising-specific factor was smaller (r = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.24–0.27), and largely influenced by non-shared environmental effects. There remained no internalising-specific factor after accounting for a general factor.
Findings suggest that ADHD comorbidity is largely explained by genetically influenced general psychopathology, but the strong link between ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders is also substantially driven by unique genetic influences.
Originally developed by applying models from cognitive psychology to the study of foreign policy decision making, the field of behavioral IR is undergoing important transformations. Building on a broader range of models, methods, and data from the fields of neuroscience, biology, and genetics, behavioral IR has moved beyond the staid debate between rational choice and psychology and instead investigates the plethora of mechanisms selected by evolution for solving adaptive problems. This opens new opportunities for collaboration between scholars informed by rational choice and behavioral insights. Examining the interactions between the individual's genetic inheritance, social environment, and downstream behavior of individuals and groups, the emerging field of behavioral epigenetics offers novel insights into the methodological problem of aggregation that has confounded efforts to apply behavioral findings to IR. In the first instance empirical, behavioral IR raises numerous normative and philosophical questions best answered in dialogue with political and legal theorists.
During the past decade, genetics research has allowed scientists and clinicians to explore the human genome in detail and reveal many thousands of common genetic variants associated with disease. Genetic risk scores, known as polygenic risk scores (PRSs), aggregate risk information from the most important genetic variants into a single score that describes an individual’s genetic predisposition to a given disease. This article reviews recent developments in the predictive utility of PRSs in relation to a person’s susceptibility to breast cancer and coronary artery disease. Prognostic models for these disorders are built using data from the UK Biobank, controlling for typical clinical and underwriting risk factors. Furthermore, we explore the possibility of adverse selection where genetic information about multifactorial disorders is available for insurance purchasers but not for underwriters. We demonstrate that prediction of multifactorial diseases, using PRSs, provides population risk information additional to that captured by normal underwriting risk factors. This research using the UK Biobank is in the public interest as it contributes to our understanding of predicting risk of disease in the population. Further research is imperative to understand how PRSs could cause adverse selection if consumers use this information to alter their insurance purchasing behaviour.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder with undetermined neurobiological causes. Understanding the impact on brain anatomy of carrying genetic risk for the disorder will contribute to uncovering its neurobiological underpinnings.
To examine the effect of rare copy number variants (CNVs) associated with schizophrenia on brain cortical anatomy in a sample of unaffected participants from the UK Biobank.
We used regression analyses to compare cortical thickness and surface area (total and across gyri) between 120 unaffected carriers of rare CNVs associated with schizophrenia and 16 670 participants without any pathogenic CNV. A measure of cortical thickness and surface area covariance across gyri was also compared between groups.
Carrier status was associated with reduced surface area (β = −0.020 mm2, P < 0.001) and less robustly with increased cortical thickness (β = 0.015 mm, P = 0.035), and with increased covariance in thickness (carriers z = 0.31 v. non-carriers z = 0.22, P < 0.0005). Associations were mainly present in frontal and parietal areas and driven by a limited number of rare risk alleles included in our analyses (mainly 15q11.2 deletion for surface area and 16p13.11 duplication for thickness covariance).
Results for surface area conformed with previous clinical findings, supporting surface area reductions as an indicator of genetic liability for schizophrenia. Results for cortical thickness, though, argued against its validity as a potential risk marker. Increased structural thickness covariance across gyri also appears related to risk for schizophrenia. The heterogeneity found across the effects of rare risk alleles suggests potential different neurobiological gateways into schizophrenia's phenotype.
Parasites sometimes expand their host range and cause new disease aetiologies. Genetic changes can then occur due to host-specific adaptive alterations, particularly when parasites cross between evolutionarily distant hosts. Characterizing genetic variation in Cryptosporidium from humans and other animals may have important implications for understanding disease dynamics and transmission. We analyse sequences from four loci (gp60, HSP-70, COWP and actin) representing multiple Cryptosporidium species reported in humans. We predicted low genetic diversity in species that present unusual human infections due to founder events and bottlenecks. High genetic diversity was observed in isolates from humans of Cryptosporidium meleagridis, Cryptosporidium cuniculus, Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. A deviation of expected values of neutrality using Tajima's D was observed in C. cuniculus and C. meleagridis. The high genetic diversity in C. meleagridis and C. cuniculus did not match our expectations but deviations from neutrality indicate a recent decrease in genetic variability through a population bottleneck after an expansion event. Cryptosporidium hominis was also found with a significant Tajima's D positive value likely caused by recent population expansion of unusual genotypes in humans. These insights indicate that changes in genetic diversity can help us to understand host-parasite adaptation and evolution.
Contracaecum sp. nematodes are important parasites of fish eating birds that can cause animal health problems. In the present study, specimens of Contracaecum rudolphii sensu lato, from the great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis from Sardinia, were characterized based on morphological and molecular data. The morphological analysis allowed to identify all the fourth stage larvae (n = 1918) as Contracaecum sp., and adults, male (n = 5845) and female (n = 8312), as C. rudolphii sensu lato. Population genetics and phylogenetic relationships were inferred based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Multiple sequence alignment of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer showed the coexistence of C. rudolphii A (n = 157), C. rudolphii B (n = 22) and a rare heterozygote of these species. Moreover, mitochondrial markers, namely NADH dehydrogenase subunits I (nad1), cytochrome c oxidase subunit (cox1 and cox2) and small subunit of rRNA (rrnS), showed that the studied C. rudolphii A populations had undergone bottleneck, or founder effect event, subsequent to a rapid population growth and expansion. The observed heterozygote is with a mitochondrial pattern of C. rudolphii B. Although, both Contracaecum species showed high genetic diversity, no genetic structure between localities was detected. Phylogenetic reconstructions supported the paraphyly of the avian Contracaecum species including C. ogmorhini (parasite of otariids).
A number of genomic conditions caused by copy number variants (CNVs) are associated with a high risk of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders (ND-CNVs). Although these patients also tend to have cognitive impairments, few studies have investigated the range of emotion and behaviour problems in young people with ND-CNVs using measures that are suitable for those with learning difficulties.
A total of 322 young people with 13 ND-CNVs across eight loci (mean age: 9.79 years, range: 6.02–17.91, 66.5% male) took part in the study. Primary carers completed the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC).
Of the total, 69% of individuals with an ND-CNV screened positive for clinically significant difficulties. Young people from families with higher incomes (OR = 0.71, CI = 0.55–0.91, p = .008) were less likely to screen positive. The rate of difficulties differed depending on ND-CNV genotype (χ2 = 39.99, p < 0.001), with the lowest rate in young people with 22q11.2 deletion (45.7%) and the highest in those with 1q21.1 deletion (93.8%). Specific patterns of strengths and weaknesses were found for different ND-CNV genotypes. However, ND-CNV genotype explained no more than 9–16% of the variance, depending on DBC subdomain.
Emotion and behaviour problems are common in young people with ND-CNVs. The ND-CNV specific patterns we find can provide a basis for more tailored support. More research is needed to better understand the variation in emotion and behaviour problems not accounted for by genotype.
Carers are a valuable resource for a patient who is suffering from a severe eating disorder. The treating team does need to respect confidentiality but also acknowledge the risks that a carer may need to be aware of when looking after a relative with an eating disorder.
Many studies demonstrate that marriage protects against risky alcohol use and moderates genetic influences on alcohol outcomes; however, previous work has not considered these effects from a developmental perspective or in high-risk individuals. These represent important gaps, as it cannot be assumed that marriage has uniform effects across development or in high-risk samples. We took a longitudinal developmental approach to examine whether marital status was associated with heavy episodic drinking (HED), and whether marital status moderated polygenic influences on HED. Our sample included 937 individuals (53.25% female) from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism who reported their HED and marital status biennially between the ages of 21 and 25. Polygenic risk scores (PRS) were derived from a genome-wide association study of alcohol consumption. Marital status was not associated with HED; however, we observed pathogenic gene-by-environment effects that changed across young adulthood. Among those who married young (age 21), individuals with higher PRS reported more HED; however, these effects decayed over time. The same pattern was found in supplementary analyses using parental history of alcohol use disorder as the index of genetic liability. Our findings indicate that early marriage may exacerbate risk for those with higher polygenic load.
Between 1880 and 1920 the medical quest to unearth the causes of disease saw two pathbreaking discoveries. One was the bacteriological revolution – the identification of specific germs as causal agents of specific diseases (anthrax, tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera and so on), and the simultaneous effort to develop disinfection techniques and immunisation measures to combat these diseases. The other was the rediscovery of Mendel’s laws of heredity and the resulting emergence of medical genetics, where an entire set of medical maladies (deafness, blindness, bodily deformities, haemophilia, Huntington’s chorea, feeble-mindedness and many mental diseases) were identified – rightly or wrongly – as genetically determined. The ‘germ theory of disease’ and the ‘gene theory of disease’ shared striking, all-too-often overlooked similarities. Both theories built on shared epistemological assumptions that influenced their explanatory mechanisms and their overall conceptual frameworks; both mobilised similar visual and linguistic vocabulary; both appropriated – and enforced – prevailing cultural and gender norms; and both enshrined broadly parallel hygienic practices. Reflecting similar social concerns, medical bacteriology and medical genetics acquired kindred scientific and societal configurations, which this paper highlights and scrutinises.
To identify a proper strategy for future feed-efficient pig farming, it is required to evaluate the ongoing selection scenarios. Tools are lacking for the evaluation of pig selection scenarios in terms of environmental impacts to provide selection guidelines for a more sustainable pig production. Selection on residual feed intake (RFI) has been proposed to improve feed efficiency and potentially reduce the associated environmental impacts. The aim of this study was thus to develop a model to account for individual animal performance in life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to quantify the responses to selection. Experimental data were collected from the fifth generation of pig lines divergently selected for RFI (low line, more efficient pigs, LRFI; high line, less efficient pigs, HRFI). The average feed conversion ratio (FCR) and daily feed intake of LRFI pigs were 7% lower than the average of HRFI pigs (P < 0.0001). A parametric model was developed for LCA based on the dietary net energy fluxes in a pig system. A nutritional pig growth tool, InraPorc®, was included as a module in the model to embed flexibility for changes in feed composition, animal performance traits and housing conditions and to simulate individual pig performance. The comparative individual-based LCA showed that LRFI had an average of 7% lower environmental impacts per kilogram live pig at farm gate compared to HRFI (P < 0.0001) on climate change, acidification potential, freshwater eutrophication potential, land occupation and water depletion. High correlations between FCR and all environmental impact categories (>0.95) confirmed the importance of improvement in feed efficiency to reduce environmental impacts. Significant line differences in all impact categories and moderate correlations with impacts (>0.51) revealed that RFI is an effective measure to select for improved environmental impacts, despite lower correlations compared to FCR. Altogether more optimal criteria for efficient environment-friendly selection can then be expected through restructuring the selection indexes from an environmental point of view.
Human strongyloidiasis is a serious disease mostly attributable to Strongyloides stercoralis and to a lesser extent Strongyloides fuelleborni, a parasite mainly of non-human primates. The role of animals as reservoirs of human-infecting Strongyloides is ill-defined, and whether dogs are a source of human infection is debated. Published multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) studies attempt to elucidate relationships between Strongyloides genotypes, hosts, and distributions, but typically examine relatively few worms, making it difficult to identify population-level trends. Combining MLST data from multiple studies is often impractical because they examine different combinations of loci, eliminating phylogeny as a means of examining these data collectively unless hundreds of specimens are excluded. A recently-described machine learning approach that facilitates clustering of MLST data may offer a solution, even for datasets that include specimens sequenced at different combinations of loci. By clustering various MLST datasets as one using this procedure, we sought to uncover associations among genotype, geography, and hosts that remained elusive when examining datasets individually. Multiple datasets comprising hundreds of S. stercoralis and S. fuelleborni individuals were combined and clustered. Our results suggest that the commonly proposed ‘two lineage’ population structure of S. stercoralis (where lineage A infects humans and dogs, lineage B only dogs) is an over-simplification. Instead, S. stercoralis seemingly represents a species complex, including two distinct populations over-represented in dogs, and other populations vastly more common in humans. A distinction between African and Asian S. fuelleborni is also supported here, emphasizing the need for further resolving these taxonomic relationships through modern investigations.
Major depression (MD) is often characterised as a categorical disorder; however, observational studies comparing sub-threshold and clinical depression suggest MD is continuous. Many of these studies do not explore the full continuum and are yet to consider genetics as a risk factor. This study sought to understand if polygenic risk for MD could provide insight into the continuous nature of depression.
Factor analysis on symptom-level data from the UK Biobank (N = 148 957) was used to derive continuous depression phenotypes which were tested for association with polygenic risk scores (PRS) for a categorical definition of MD (N = 119 692).
Confirmatory factor analysis showed a five-factor hierarchical model, incorporating 15 of the original 18 items taken from the PHQ-9, GAD-7 and subjective well-being questionnaires, produced good fit to the observed covariance matrix (CFI = 0.992, TLI = 0.99, RMSEA = 0.038, SRMR = 0.031). MD PRS associated with each factor score (standardised β range: 0.057–0.064) and the association remained when the sample was stratified into case- and control-only subsets. The case-only subset had an increased association compared to controls for all factors, shown via a significant interaction between lifetime MD diagnosis and MD PRS (p value range: 2.23 × 10−3–3.94 × 10−7).
An association between MD PRS and a continuous phenotype of depressive symptoms in case- and control-only subsets provides support against a purely categorical phenotype; indicating further insights into MD can be obtained when this within-group variation is considered. The stronger association within cases suggests this variation may be of particular importance.