Genetic Control of Expression and Splicing in Developing Human Brain
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Most genetic risk for human diseases lies within non-coding regions of the genome that are predicted to regulate gene expression in a tissue- and stage-specific manner. Given the importance of regulatory pathways during brain development, we characterized the genetic control of the transcriptome in 201 mid-gestational human brains, identifying 7962 eQTL and 4635 sQTL. By integration with GWAS, we characterized the genes and isoforms contributing to specific neuropsychiatric disorders, including SCZ and ASD, as well as other cognition or behavioral-related phenotypes. SCZ and ASD impact distinct developmental gene co-expression modules, yet in both disorders, common and rare genetic variation converge. These analyses demonstrate the highly distinctive effects of transcriptional control, as well as divergent age-related contributions to disease. More broadly, these findings demonstrate the genetic mechanisms by which early developmental events have a striking and widespread influence on adult anatomical and behavioral phenotypes.