A genome-wide association study of social trust in 33,882 Danish blood donors

Celia Burgos Sequeros, Thomas Folkmann Hansen, David Westergaard, Ioannis Louloudis, Sebastian Kalamajski, Timo Röder, Palle Duun Rohde, Michael Schwinn, Line Harder Clemmensen, Maria Didriksen, Mette Nyegaard, Henrik Hjalgrim, Kaspar René Nielsen, Mie Topholm Bruun, Sisse Rye Ostrowski, Christian Erikstrup, Susan Mikkelsen, Erik Sørensen, Ole Birger Vestager Pedersen, Søren BrunakKarina Banasik*, Giuseppe Nicola Giordano, DBDS Genomic Consortium, Mona Ameri Chalmer (Member of study group), Maria Didriksen (Member of study group), Joseph Dowsett (Member of study group), Bjarke Feenstra (Member of study group), Frank Geller (Member of study group), Henrik Hjalgrim (Member of study group), Rikke Louise Jacobsen (Member of study group), Lisette Kogelman (Member of study group), Margit Anita Hørup Larsen (Member of study group), Christina Mikkelsen (Member of study group), Michael Schwinn (Member of study group), Lise Wegner Thørner (Member of study group), David Westergaard (Member of study group)

*Corresponding author for this work


Social trust is a heritable trait that has been linked with physical health and longevity. In this study, we performed genome-wide association studies of self-reported social trust in n = 33,882 Danish blood donors. We observed genome-wide and local evidence of genetic similarity with other brain-related phenotypes and estimated the single nucleotide polymorphism-based heritability of trust to be 6% (95% confidence interval = (2.1, 9.9)). In our discovery cohort (n = 25,819), we identified one significantly associated locus (lead variant: rs12776883) in an intronic enhancer region of PLPP4, a gene highly expressed in brain, kidneys, and testes. However, we could not replicate the signal in an independent set of donors who were phenotyped a year later (n = 8063). In the subsequent meta-analysis, we found a second significantly associated variant (rs71543507) in an intergenic enhancer region. Overall, our work confirms that social trust is heritable, and provides an initial look into the genetic factors that influence it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1402
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1402
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024


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