Exploring the genetic correlations of antisocial behaviour and life history traits

Jorim J. Tielbeek, J. C. Barnes, Arne Popma, Tinca J.C. Polderman, James J. Lee, John R.B. Perry, Danielle Posthuma, Brian B. Boutwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Summary Prior evolutionary theory provided reason to suspect that measures of development and reproduction would be correlated with antisocial behaviours in human and non-human species. Behavioural genetics has revealed that most quantitative traits are heritable, suggesting that these phenotypic correlations may share genetic aetiologies. We use genome-wide association study data to estimate the genetic correlations between various measures of reproductive development (N = 52 776-318 863) and antisocial behaviour (N = 31 968). Our genetic correlation analyses demonstrate that alleles associated with higher reproductive output (number of children ever born, r g = 0.50, P = 0.0065) were positively correlated with alleles associated with antisocial behaviour, whereas alleles associated with more delayed reproductive onset (age at first birth, r g = -0.64, P = 0.0008) were negatively associated with alleles linked to antisocial behaviour. Ultimately, these findings coalesce with evolutionary theories suggesting that increased antisocial behaviours may partly represent a faster life history approach, which may be significantly calibrated by genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-470
Number of pages4
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.


  • Genome-wide association study
  • antisocial behaviour
  • linkage disequilibrium regression


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