As you may know, the UK Biobank released data on ~500,000 individuals to the scientific community to advance research on genetics. The Neale Lab has been working to make some basic analyses of that data freely available; you can read more about the overall effort here.

Building on the initial genome-wide association analyses, we’ve now estimated the heritability of each of those traits and disorders, over 4,000 as of this writing. As with the primary GWAS analyses, we’re making the heritability results available for browsing and bulk download.


Browse \(h^2\) Explore Plots Download Results


You can learn more about the heritability analysis in this series of blog posts:

More technical descriptions are also available:

We view these results as preliminary and subject to change. They rely on uniform automated GWAS of thousands of variables, each of which can potentially be refined by subject matter experts. You can view the change between our Round 1 and Round 2 results here. But we hope you’ll agree that the current results still provide an interesting and useful look at the genetics of the many diverse traits and disorders studied in the UK Biobank, and are potentially informative for highlighting phenotypes meriting further follow-up.

If you want more information, please contact us at: nealelab.ukb@gmail.com.


FAQ

Where can I find the heritability results?

We’ve created a browser to explore the results here. You can also download the full results file here.

What method have you used to estimated heritability?

To enable this quick initial analysis on such large-scale data we’re relying on LD score regression (article, github repo). Full code and technical details are available in the UKBB_ldsc_scripts github repository and described in Heritability 501.

Are the primary GWAS results used for this analysis available?

Yes! The full GWAS results are available for download. See the Neale Lab blog for much more information.

Can I download just the LDSC-formatted sumstats files instead of the full GWAS results?

Yes! Direct download links for the LDSC sumstats files for all of the primary GWAS are available in a searchable table on the Downloads page. You can also view and download the full manifest of ldsc sumstats files for easier programmatic access and links to sumstats files for all of the Neale UKB GWAS.

How should I interpret these heritability results?

Very carefully. For starters, we’ve written a couple of primers that cover the concept of heritability and common misconceptions (Heritability 101) and the specific type of heritability that’s being estimated in this analysis (Heritability 201). A longer discussion of the many limitations of this analysis is included in our more technical description of the project (Heritability 501).

This is a very rough initial analysis and should be treated accordingly. All estimates are for (a) the heritability from common genetic variants (b) of automatically cleaned and transformed phenotypes (c) in a non-random population sample of the UK (d) estimated with a fairly simple statistical model. We expect the results will mostly be useful for generating hypotheses for follow-up (e.g. identifying trends in the estimates for categories of phenotypes, choosing phenotypes with robust statistical evidence for heritability), rather than being a definitive statement about the “true” heritability of a individual phenotype.

Are genetic correlation results available for these phenotypes?

Yes! You can browse genetic correlations between the significantly heritable phenotypes at https://ukbb-rg.hail.is/. You can also download the LDSC-formatted sumstats files for your own genetic correlation analyses. Round 1 results are also available for genetic correlation analyses through LD Hub.


Credits

See Credits for complete acknowledgements.