Professor Peter Visscher

Program in Complex Trait Genomics

Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland

Title: "The genetics of educational attainment"

Abstract :  Educational attainment ranges from completion of high school through to PhD graduation and reflects a complex mixture of factors such as intelligence, perseverance, resilience and opportunity. Variation between people in the number of years of schooling is (therefore) attributable to both environmental and genetic factors. Twin studies have implied that about 20-40% of variation is genetic and we now have the tools and data to dissect this variation into contributions from individual genetic loci and to study their biology. I will show results from a genome-wide association study of more than 1 million individuals, from which >1200 associated loci were detected, implicating genes involved in brain-development processes and neuron-to-neuron communication. A joint multi-phenotype analysis of educational attainment and related cognitive phenotypes generates polygenic scores that explain 11–13% of the variance in educational attainment and 7–10% of the variance in cognitive performance. This prediction accuracy substantially increases the utility of polygenic scores as tools in research.

About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018