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Epidemiological and genetic association studies show that genetics play an important role in the attainment of education. Here, we investigate the effect of this genetic component on the reproductive history of 109,120 Icelanders and the consequent impact on the gene pool over time. We show that an educational attainment polygenic score, POLYEDU, constructed from results of a recent study is associated with delayed reproduction (P < 10-100) and fewer children overall. The effect is stronger for women and remains highly significant after adjusting for educational attainment. Based on 129,808 Icelanders born between 1910 and 1990, we find that the average POLYEDU has been declining at a rate of ∼0.010 standard units per decade, which is substantial on an evolutionary timescale. Most importantly, because POLYEDU only captures a fraction of the overall underlying genetic component the latter could be declining at a rate that is two to three times faster.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.1612113114

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date

17/01/2017

Volume

114

Pages

E727 - E732

Addresses

deCODE genetics/Amgen Inc., Reykjavik 101, Iceland; kong@decode.is kari.stefansson@decode.is.

Keywords

Humans, Intelligence, Fertility, Genotype, Genome, Human, Adolescent, Adult, Educational Status, Iceland, Female, Male, Genetic Variation, Young Adult