Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
Divergent selection on height and cognitive ability: evidence from Fst and polygenic scores
Tests of selection based on population differentiation were performed on two highly polygenic traits important for success and satisfaction in life: height and educational attainment (EA).
Polygenic scores (PGS) of EA and height, computed across three public genomic databases revealed differences between populations (1000 Genomes, HGDP, gnomAD) that matched the average IQ and height of ethnic groups (r ~0.9).
A moderately strong correlation between latitude and EA PGS (r= 0.68), significantly deviating from the correlations of random SNPs, suggests the implication of climate (seasonality or winter temperature) for selection on cognitive abilities.
The global Fst index revealed population differentiation at height and EA loci, significantly deviating from random SNPs.
Substantial LD decay between Africans and Europeans was found (r= 0.6) but there was no correlation between Linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay and population differences in polygenic scores (r= 0.015, p= 0.45) for EA, and slight inflation of height PGS difference due to LD decay (r= -0.04, p= 0.0315).
implying that LD decay does not produce a bias in polygenic scores of non-European populations. Finally, it is shown that PGS differences are more sensitive to SNP significance than Fst, reflecting the major limitations of Fst as an index of selection.
Supplemental materials link
Emund the Old: Accept
Gerhard Meisenberg: Accept
Dr. g: Accept