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Polygenic risk for schizophrenia and season of birth within the UK Biobank cohort

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2018

Valentina Escott-Price*
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Daniel J. Smith
Affiliation:
Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Kimberley Kendall
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Joey Ward
Affiliation:
Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
George Kirov
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Michael J. Owen
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
James Walters
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Michael C. O'Donovan
Affiliation:
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
*
Author for correspondence: Valentina Escott-Price, E-mail: EscottPriceV@cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

Background

There is strong evidence that people born in winter and in spring have a small increased risk of schizophrenia. As this ‘season of birth’ effect underpins some of the most influential hypotheses concerning potentially modifiable risk exposures, it is important to exclude other possible explanations for the phenomenon.

Methods

Here we sought to determine whether the season of birth effect reflects gene-environment confounding rather than a pathogenic process indexing environmental exposure. We directly measured, in 136 538 participants from the UK Biobank (UKBB), the burdens of common schizophrenia risk alleles and of copy number variants known to increase the risk for the disorder, and tested whether these were correlated with a season of birth.

Results

Neither genetic measure was associated with season or month of birth within the UKBB sample.

Conclusions

As our study was highly powered to detect small effects, we conclude that the season of birth effect in schizophrenia reflects a true pathogenic effect of environmental exposure.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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Supplementary material: File

Escott-Price et al. supplementary material

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