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Only a few common variants in the sequence of the genome have been shown to impact cognitive traits. Here we demonstrate that polygenic scores of educational attainment predict specific aspects of childhood cognition, as measured with IQ. Recently, three sequence variants were shown to associate with educational attainment, a confluence phenotype of genetic and environmental factors contributing to academic success. We show that one of these variants associating with educational attainment, rs4851266-T, also associates with Verbal IQ in dyslexic children (P = 4.3 × 10-4, β = 0.16 s.d.). The effect of 0.16 s.d. corresponds to 1.4 IQ points for heterozygotes and 2.8 IQ points for homozygotes. We verified this association in independent samples consisting of adults (P = 8.3 × 10-5, β = 0.12 s.d., combined P = 2.2 x 10-7, β = 0.14 s.d.). Childhood cognition is unlikely to be affected by education attained later in life, and the variant explains a greater fraction of the variance in verbal IQ than in educational attainment (0.7% vs 0.12%,. P = 1.0 × 10-5).

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





deCODE Genetics/Amgen, Inc., Reykjavik, Iceland.


Chromosomes, Human, Pair 2, Humans, Dyslexia, Nuclear Proteins, Genetic Markers, Intelligence, Cognition, Multifactorial Inheritance, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Databases, Genetic, Adolescent, Adult, Child, Educational Status, Iceland, Female, Male, Academic Success