New research doubles number of genes linked to height
How tall you are is strongly related to the genes you inherit and in the largest genetic study of height-related genes to date, scientists have identified 423 genetic regions connected to height.
Washington: How tall you are is strongly related to the genes you inherit and in the largest genetic study of height-related genes to date, scientists have identified 423 genetic regions connected to height.
Involving more than 300 institutions and more than 250,000 subjects, the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) said the regions could explain as much as 60 percent of the genetic component.
The study from the international Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium provides a better glimpse at the biology of height, researchers noted.
“Height is almost completely determined by genetics. Our earlier studies were only able to explain about 10 percent of this genetic influence. Now, we have a much more complete picture of how common genetic variants affect height - how many of them there are and how much they contribute,” explained Joel Hirschhorn, leader of the GIANT consortium.
The GIANT investigators analysed data from the genomes of 253,288 people.
They checked about two million common genetic variants (those that showed up in at least five percent of their subjects).
From this pool, they pinned down 697 (in 424 gene regions) as being related to height - the largest number to date associated with any trait or disease.
“We can now explain about 20 percent of the heritability of height, up about 12 percent from where we were before,” added co-first author Tonu Esko, from the Boston Children’s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of Tartu (Estonia).
Many of the 697 height-related genetic variants were located near genes known to be involved in growth.
“Many of the genes we identified are likely to be important regulators of skeletal growth but were not known to be involved until now. Some may also be responsible for unexplained syndromes of abnormal skeletal growth in children,” informed Hirschhorn, also from the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Height is a model trait for understanding how human genetics works - especially for traits produced by not one gene, but many.
Height is easy to measure and an estimated 80 percent of variation in height is genetic.