Continuity of Genetic Risk for Aggressive Behavior Across the Life-Course

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Abstract

We test whether genetic influences that explain individual differences in aggression in early life also explain individual differences across the life-course. In two cohorts from The Netherlands (N = 13,471) and Australia (N = 5628), polygenic scores (PGSs) were computed based on a genome-wide meta-analysis of childhood/adolescence aggression. In a novel analytic approach, we ran a mixed effects model for each age (Netherlands: 12–70 years, Australia: 16–73 years), with observations at the focus age weighted as 1, and decaying weights for ages further away. We call this approach a ‘rolling weights’ model. In The Netherlands, the estimated effect of the PGS was relatively similar from age 12 to age 41, and decreased from age 41–70. In Australia, there was a peak in the effect of the PGS around age 40 years. These results are a first indication from a molecular genetics perspective that genetic influences on aggressive behavior that are expressed in childhood continue to play a role later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-606
Number of pages15
JournalBehavior genetics
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Development
  • Life-course
  • Polygenic score
  • Rolling weights

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