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

Escott-Price, Valentina ORCID:, Smith, Daniel J., Kendall, Kimberley ORCID:, Ward, Joey, Kirov, George ORCID:, Owen, Michael J. ORCID:, Walters, James ORCID: and O'Donovan, Michael C. ORCID: 2019. Polygenic risk for schizophrenia and season of birth within the UK Biobank cohort. Psychological Medicine 49 (15) , pp. 2499-2504. 10.1017/S0033291718000454

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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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: Released with a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-NC-ND
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0033-2917
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 1 February 2018
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2023 07:47

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