Genome-wide association study for risk taking propensity indicates shared pathways with body mass index.
Communications biology 2017 ; 1: 36.
PubMed ID : 30271922
PMCID : PMC6123697
Risk-taking propensity is a trait of significant public health relevance but few specific genetic factors are known. Here we perform a genome-wide association study of self-reported risk-taking propensity among 436,236 white European UK Biobank study participants. We identify genome-wide associations at 26 loci ( < 5 × 10), 24 of which are novel, implicating genes enriched in the GABA and GABA receptor pathways. Modelling the relationship between risk-taking propensity and body mass index (BMI) using Mendelian randomisation shows a positive association (0.25 approximate SDs of BMI (SE: 0.06); = 6.7 × 10). The impact of individual SNPs is heterogeneous, indicating a complex relationship arising from multiple shared pathways. We identify positive genetic correlations between risk-taking and waist-hip ratio, childhood obesity, ever smoking, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, alongside a negative correlation with women's age at first birth. These findings highlight that behavioural pathways involved in risk-taking propensity may play a role in obesity, smoking and psychiatric disorders.