Meta-analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies for Extraversion: Findings from the Genetics of Personality Consortium

Stéphanie M van den Berg, Marleen H M de Moor, Karin J H Verweij, Robert F Krueger, Michelle Luciano, Alejandro Arias Vasquez, Lindsay K Matteson, Jaime Derringer, Tõnu Esko, Najaf Amin, Scott D Gordon, Narelle K Hansell, Amy B Hart, Ilkka Seppälä, Jennifer E Huffman, Bettina Konte, Jari Lahti, Minyoung Lee, Mike Miller, Teresa NutileToshiko Tanaka, Alexander Teumer, Alexander Viktorin, Juho Wedenoja, Abdel Abdellaoui, Goncalo R Abecasis, Daniel E Adkins, Arpana Agrawal, Jüri Allik, Katja Appel, Timothy B Bigdeli, Fabio Busonero, Harry Campbell, Paul T Costa, George Davey Smith, Gail Davies, Harriet de Wit, Jun Ding, Barbara E Engelhardt, Johan G Eriksson, Iryna O Fedko, Luigi Ferrucci, Barbara Franke, Ina Giegling, Richard Grucza, John P Kemp, Sarah E Medland, Beate St Pourcain, Nicholas J Timpson, David M Evans, Generation Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
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Extraversion is a relatively stable and heritable personality trait associated with numerous psychosocial, lifestyle and health outcomes. Despite its substantial heritability, no genetic variants have been detected in previous genome-wide association (GWA) studies, which may be due to relatively small sample sizes of those studies. Here, we report on a large meta-analysis of GWA studies for extraversion in 63,030 subjects in 29 cohorts. Extraversion item data from multiple personality inventories were harmonized across inventories and cohorts. No genome-wide significant associations were found at the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) level but there was one significant hit at the gene level for a long non-coding RNA site (LOC101928162). Genome-wide complex trait analysis in two large cohorts showed that the additive variance explained by common SNPs was not significantly different from zero, but polygenic risk scores, weighted using linkage information, significantly predicted extraversion scores in an independent cohort. These results show that extraversion is a highly polygenic personality trait, with an architecture possibly different from other complex human traits, including other personality traits. Future studies are required to further determine which genetic variants, by what modes of gene action, constitute the heritable nature of extraversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-182
Number of pages13
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number2
Early online date11 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Personality
  • Phenotype harmonization
  • Common genetic variants
  • Imputation
  • Polygenic risk


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