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Educational Attainment Polygenic Scores: Examining Evidence for Gene–Environment Interplay with Adolescent Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Use

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 October 2022

Christal N. Davis*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO65211, USA
Ian R. Gizer
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO65211, USA
Lucía Colodro-Conde
Affiliation:
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland4006, Australia
Dixie J. Statham
Affiliation:
Federation University, Ballarat, Victoria3350, Australia
Nicholas G. Martin
Affiliation:
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland4006, Australia
Wendy S. Slutske
Affiliation:
Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI53711, USA
*
Author for correspondence: Christal N. Davis, Email: cd485@mail.missouri.edu
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Abstract

Genes associated with educational attainment may be related to or interact with adolescent alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use. Potential gene–environment interplay between educational attainment polygenic scores (EA-PGS) and adolescent alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use was evaluated with a series of regression models fitted to data from a sample of 1871 adult Australian twins. All models controlled for age, age2, cohort, sex and genetic ancestry as fixed effects, and a genetic relatedness matrix was included as a random effect. Although there was no evidence that adolescent alcohol, tobacco or cannabis use interacted with EA-PGS to influence educational attainment, there was a significant, positive gene–environment correlation with adolescent alcohol use at all PGS thresholds (ps <.02). Higher EA-PGS were associated with an increased likelihood of using alcohol as an adolescent (ΔR2 ranged from 0.5% to 1.1%). The positive gene–environment correlation suggests a complex relationship between educational attainment and alcohol use that is due to common genetic factors.

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Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of International Society for Twin Studies

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