Edinburgh Psychology Keynote Talk

Speaker: Assistant Professor Sam Trejo (Princeton University)

Title: Using polygenic scores to observe the genetic lottery for premature mortality

Abstract: The identification of causal relationships between specific genes and social, behavioral, and health outcomes is challenging due to environmental confounding from population stratification and dynastic genetic effects. We introduce the phenotype differences model to compare siblings and estimate the causal effect of genetic predictors using just a single individual's genotype. We show that, under plausible assumptions, the phenotype differences model provides unbiased and consistent estimates of genetic effects. We then utilize the phenotype differences model to estimate the effects of 40 polygenic scores on premature mortality using asymmetrically genotyped sibling pairs in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. We find that twelve polygenic scores related to self-rated health, body mass index, education, cognition, depression, life satisfaction, smoking behavior, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have a meaningful impact on mortality outcomes. When we combine information across multiple polygenic scores, the sibling in a pair who inherited more longevity-increasing DNA from their parents on average lived 9 months longer and was 7 pp (12%) more likely to survive until age 75 than their brother/sister.

Further information

For further information please contact Dr Jasmin Wertz.

The talk is open to all PPLS staff and postgraduate students as well as Psychology undergraduate students in Year 3 and 4.

Feb 26 2024 -

Edinburgh Psychology Keynote Talk

2024-02-26: Using polygenic scores to observe the genetic lottery for premature mortality

Room G32, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ