Global and Regional Development of the Human Cerebral Cortex: Molecular Architecture and Occupational Aptitudes

Jean Shin, Shaojie Ma, Edith Hofer, Yash Patel, Daniel E Vosberg, Steven Tilley, Gennady V Roshchupkin, André M M Sousa, Xueqiu Jian, Rebecca Gottesman, Thomas H Mosley, Myriam Fornage, Yasaman Saba, Lukas Pirpamer, Reinhold Schmidt, Helena Schmidt, Amaia Carrion-Castillo, Fabrice Crivello, Bernard Mazoyer, Joshua C Bis, Shuo Li, Qiong Yang, Michelle Luciano, Sherif Karama, Lindsay Lewis, Mark E Bastin, Mathew A Harris, Joanna M Wardlaw, Ian E Deary, Markus Scholz, Markus Loeffler, A Veronica Witte, Frauke Beyer, Arno Villringer, Nicola J Armstrong, Karen A Mather, David Ames, Jiyang Jiang, John B Kwok, Peter R Schofield, Anbupalam Thalamuthu, Julian N Trollor, Margaret J Wright, Henry Brodaty, Wei Wen, Perminder S Sachdev, Natalie Terzikhan, Tavia E Evans, Hieab H H H Adams, M Arfan Ikram, Stefan Frenzel, Sandra van der Auwera-Palitschka, Katharina Wittfeld, Robin Bülow, Hans Jörgen Grabe, Christophe Tzourio, Aniket Mishra, Sophie Maingault, Stephanie Debette, Nathan A Gillespie, Carol E Franz, William S Kremen, Linda Ding, Neda Jahanshad, Nenad Sestan, Zdenka Pausova, Sudha Seshadri, Tomas Paus,
Cerebral Cortex. 2020-03-20; 30(7): 4121-4139
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhaa035

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We have carried out meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) (n = 23 784) of the first two principal components (PCs) that group together cortical regions with shared variance in their surface area. PC1 (global) captured variations of most regions, whereas PC2 (visual) was specific to the primary and secondary visual cortices. We identified a total of 18 (PC1) and 17 (PC2) independent loci, which were replicated in another 25 746 individuals. The loci of the global PC1 included those associated previously with intracranial volume and/or general cognitive function, such as MAPT and IGF2BP1. The loci of the visual PC2 included DAAM1, a key player in the planar-cell-polarity pathway. We then tested associations with occupational aptitudes and, as predicted, found that the global PC1 was associated with General Learning Ability, and the visual PC2 was associated with the Form Perception aptitude. These results suggest that interindividual variations in global and regional development of the human cerebral cortex (and its molecular architecture) cascade—albeit in a very limited manner—to behaviors as complex as the choice of one’s occupation.

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