Background: Recent studies have used genome-wide data to investigate evolutionary mechanisms related to behavioral phenotypes, identifying widespread signals of positive selection. Here, we conducted a genome-wide investigation to study whether the molecular mechanisms involved in these traits were affected by local adaptation. Methods: We performed a polygenic risk score analysis in a sample of 2455 individuals from 23 European populations with respect to variables related to geo-climate diversity, pathogen diversity, and language phonological complexity. The analysis was adjusted for the genetic diversity of European populations to ensure that the differences detected would reflect differences in environmental exposures. Results: The top finding was related to the association between winter minimum temperature and schizophrenia. Additional significant geo-climate results were also observed with respect to bipolar disorder (sunny daylight), depressive symptoms (precipitation rate), major depressive disorder (precipitation rate), and subjective well-being (relative humidity). Beyond geo-climate variables, we also observed findings related to pathogen diversity and language phonological complexity: openness to experience was associated with protozoan diversity; conscientiousness and extraversion were associated with language consonants. Conclusions: We report that common variation associated with psychiatric disorders and behavioral traits was affected by processes related to local adaptation in European populations.

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Genome Medicine
Department of Genetic Identification

Polimanti, R. (Renato), Kayser, M.H, & Gelernter, J. (2018). Local adaptation in European populations affected the genetics of psychiatric disorders and behavioral traits. Genome Medicine, 10(1). doi:10.1186/s13073-018-0532-7