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Examining intergenerational risk factors for conduct problems using polygenic scores in the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study

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posted on 2024-02-14, 12:55 authored by L Frach, W Barkhuizen, AG Allegrini, H Ask, LJ Hannigan, EC Corfield, OA Andreassen, F Dudbridge, E Ystrom, A Havdahl, JB Pingault

The aetiology of conduct problems involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors, many of which are inherently linked to parental characteristics given parents’ central role in children’s lives across development. It is important to disentangle to what extent links between parental heritable characteristics and children’s behaviour are due to transmission of genetic risk or due to parental indirect genetic influences via the environment (i.e., genetic nurture). We used 31,290 genotyped mother-father-child trios from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), testing genetic transmission and genetic nurture effects on conduct problems using 13 polygenic scores (PGS) spanning psychiatric conditions, substance use, education-related factors, and other risk factors. Maternal or self-reports of conduct problems at ages 8 and 14 years were available for up to 15,477 children. We found significant genetic transmission effects on conduct problems for 12 out of 13 PGS at age 8 years (strongest association: PGS for smoking, β = 0.07, 95% confidence interval = [0.05, 0.08]) and for 4 out of 13 PGS at age 14 years (strongest association: PGS for externalising problems, β = 0.08, 95% confidence interval = [0.05, 0.11]). Conversely, we did not find genetic nurture effects for conduct problems using our selection of PGS. Our findings provide evidence for genetic transmission in the association between parental characteristics and child conduct problems. Our results may also indicate that genetic nurture via traits indexed by our polygenic scores is of limited aetiological importance for conduct problems—though effects of small magnitude or effects via parental traits not captured by the included PGS remain a possibility.

History

Author affiliation

Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Molecular Psychiatry

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

issn

1359-4184

eissn

1476-5578

Copyright date

2023

Available date

2024-02-14

Spatial coverage

England

Language

eng

Deposited by

Professor Frank Dudbridge

Deposit date

2024-02-01

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