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Approved research

The Social Science Genetic Association Consortium

Principal Investigator: Professor Daniel Benjamin
Approved Research ID: 11425
Approval date: June 1st 2015

Lay summary

We, the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC), aim to bring together the expertise of medical geneticists and social scientists to study how a range of health-relevant outcomes are influenced by specific genetic variants, the environment (including lifestyle), and their interaction. In accessing the U.K. Biobank data, we are specifically interested in the following health-relevant outcomes: cognitive function, dementia, depression, smoking, and alcohol drinking. Our research will contribute to quantifying how several risk factors (e.g. lifestyle, environment, genes), both separately and in combination, influence public health and well-being. Incorporating insights from the social sciences and investigating social scientific outcomes helps to achieve this objective. For example, a GWAS on subjective well-being in a very large sample could identify genetic factors associated with (absence of) depression that would not be possible to identify by studying depression directly in a much smaller sample. Furthermore, accurate polygenic risk scores can be used to study how lifestyle and environmental factors mediate genetic effects on health. We will use several methods, e.g.: ? Genomewide association studies (GWAS) that aim to identify individual genetic variants associated with a particular outcome. ? GWAS of a ?proxy phenotype??a biologically-distal phenotype available in larger samples?to identify candidate genetic variants for association with a health-relevant outcome available in smaller samples. ? Estimation of economic and statistical models of health-relevant outcomes as a function of genetic variants, environmental factors, and their interaction. We will typically use all available observations in the UKB that (i) are of European decent, (ii) have been successfully genotyped, and (iii) have measures of the phenotype(s) under investigation.