We investigated the biological bases of verbal and logic reasoning in a large sample of participants from the UK Biobank. In particular, we explored the genetic underpinnings of verbal and logic reasoning via genome-wide association analysis (N=108,147), and examined its brain morphological correlates (N=7,485). Importantly, we developed novel statistical methods that enable high-dimensional co-heritability analysis, and computed high-resolution surface maps for the co-heritability and genetic correlations between verbal and logic reasoning and cortical thickness measurements. Our analyses revealed the genetic overlap between verbal and logic reasoning and brain morphology in predominately left inferior precentral gyrus, pars opercularis, superior temporal cortex, supramarginal gyrus, and their proximal regions. These results suggest a shared genetic basis between verbal and logic reasoning and Broca's speech and Wernicke's language areas and motor regions, and may contribute to our understanding of the biological substrate of human cognitive ability.
Phenomewide Heritability Analysis
We will use a novel software tool we have recently developed to compute the extent of the influence of human DNA on observable physical, clinical, and cognitive characteristics/traits (phenotype). Many of these traits are caused by genetic (heritable), environmental and life-style factors. Our primary aim is to identify those traits, where genetic factors play a significant role. This will enable us and other scientists to prioritize phenotypes for follow-up genetics studies. Our second aim will be to study the genetic overlap between phenotypes. Identifying the genetic factors that influence health-related, observable individual-level traits, such as disease diagnosis, will be critical for understanding the causal mechanisms of various clinical conditions, and developing prevention and treatment strategies. With rich phenotypic datasets such as the UK Biobank, it is going to be critical to prioritize phenotypes based on heritability. Those phenotypes which are largely determined by genetics (i.e., have large heritability) will be good candidates for further examining the underlying genetic causes. We will use a novel analytic strategy, which we recently published, to examine genome-wide marker (single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP) data and phenotype data to examine the relationship between DNA and observable traits. We will use the full cohort.
|Lead investigator:||Prof. Mert Sanbuncu|
|Lead institution:||Cornell University|