Working Paper

FAQs about “GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment”

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The SSGAC is a research infrastructure designed to stimulate dialogue and cooperation between medical researchers and social scientists. The SSGAC facilitates collaborative research that seeks to identify associations between specific genetic markers (segments of DNA) and behavioral traits, such as preferences, personality and social-science outcomes.

One major impetus for the formation of the SSGAC was the growing recognition that most effects of individual genetic markers on behavioral traits are very small, and that, consequently, very large samples are required to accurately detect them. Several years ago medical researchers responded to a similar recognition—that most effects of individual genetic markers on complex diseases are very small—by forming research consortia in which groups collaborate by pooling results across many datasets. The SSGAC is an attempt to encourage analogous pooling among social-science geneticists and is organized under the auspices of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE), a successful medical consortium. The SSGAC was founded by three social scientists (Daniel Benjamin, David Cesarini, and Philipp Koellinger) who are excited about the potentially transformative impact that genetic data could have on the social sciences, yet troubled by how current approaches are not bearing fruit. The Advisory Board for the SSGAC is composed of prominent researchers representing various disciplines: Dalton Conley (Sociology, New York University), George Davey-Smith (Epidemiology, University of Bristol), Albert Hofman (Epidemiology, Erasmus University), Robert Krueger (Psychology, University of Minnesota), David Laibson (Economics, Harvard), Sarah Medland (Psychology, Queensland Institute of Medical Research), Michelle Meyer (Bioethics, Harvard Law School), and Peter Visscher (Statistical Genetics, University of Queensland).