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Abstract Background Poorer self-rated health (SRH) predicts worse health outcomes, even when adjusted for objective measures of disease at time of rating. Twin studies indicate SRH has a heritability of up to 60% and that its genetic architecture may overlap with that of personality and cognition. Methods We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of SRH on 111 749 members of the UK Biobank sample. Univariate genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA)-GREML analyses were used to estimate the proportion of variance explained by all common autosomal SNPs for SRH. Linkage Disequilibrium (LD) score regression and polygenic risk scoring, two complementary methods, were used to investigate pleiotropy between SRH in UK Biobank and up to 21 health-related and personality and cognitive traits from published GWAS consortia. Results The GWAS identified 13 independent signals associated with SRH, including several in regions previously associated with diseases or disease-related traits. The strongest signal was on chromosome 2 (rs2360675, p = 1.77x10-10) close to KLF7, which has previously been associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. A second strong peak was identified on chromosome 6 in the major histocompatibility region (rs76380179, p = 6.15x10-10). The proportion of variance in SRH that was explained by all common genetic variants was 13%. Polygenic scores for the following traits and disorders were associated with SRH: cognitive ability, education, neuroticism, BMI, longevity, ADHD, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, lung function, blood pressure, coronary artery disease, large vessel disease stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Conclusions Individual differences in how people respond to a single item on SRH are partly explained by their genetic propensity to many common psychiatric and physical disorders and psychological traits.

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