Hundreds of variants clustered in genomic loci and biological pathways affect human height.
Nature 2010 ; 467: 832-8.
Lango Allen H, Estrada K, Lettre G, Berndt SI, Weedon MN, Rivadeneira F, Willer CJ, Jackson AU, Vedantam S, Raychaudhuri S, Ferreira T, Wood AR, Weyant RJ, Segrè AV, Speliotes EK, Wheeler E, Soranzo N, Park JH, Yang J, Gudbjartsson D, Heard-Costa NL, Randall JC, Qi L, Vernon Smith A, Mägi R, Pastinen T, Liang L, Heid IM, Luan J, Thorleifsson G, Winkler TW, Goddard ME, Sin Lo K, Palmer C, Workalemahu T, Aulchenko YS, Johansson Å, Zillikens MC, Feitosa MF, Esko T, Johnson T, Ketkar S, Kraft P, Mangino M, Prokopenko I, Absher D, Albrecht E, Ernst F, Glazer NL, Hayward C, Hottenga JJ, Jacobs KB, Knowles JW, Kutalik Z, Monda KL, Polasek O, Preuss M, Rayner NW, Robertson NR, Steinthorsdottir V, Tyrer JP, Voight BF, Wiklund F, Xu J, Zhao JH, Nyholt DR, Pellikka N, Perola M, Perry JR, Surakka I, Tammesoo ML, Altmaier EL, Amin N, Aspelund T, Bhangale T, Boucher G, Chasman DI, Chen C, Coin L, Cooper MN, Dixon AL, Gibson Q, Grundberg E, Hao K, Juhani Junttila M, Kaplan LM, Kettunen J, König IR, Kwan T, Lawrence RW, Levinson DF, Lorentzon M, McKnight B, Morris AP, Müller M, Suh Ngwa J, Purcell S, Rafelt S, Salem RM, Salvi E, Sanna S, Shi J, Sovio U, Thompson JR, Turchin MC, Vandenput L, Verlaan DJ, Vitart V, White CC, Ziegler A, Almgren P, Balmforth AJ, Campbell H, Citterio L, De Grandi A, Dominiczak A, Duan J, Elliott P, Elosua R, Eriksson JG, Freimer NB, Geus EJ, Glorioso N, Haiqing S, Hartikainen AL, Havulinna AS, Hicks AA, Hui J, Igl W, Illig T, Jula A, Kajantie E, Kilpeläinen TO, Koiranen M, Kolcic I, Koskinen S, Kovacs P, Laitinen J, Liu J, Lokki ML, Marusic A, Maschio A, Meitinger T, Mulas A, Pare G, Parker AN, Peden JF, Petersmann A, Pichler I, Pietiläinen KH, Pouta A, Ridderstråle M, Rotter JI, Sambrook JG, Sanders AR, Schmidt CO, Sinisalo J, Smit JH, Stringham HM, Bragi Walters G, Widén E, Wild SH, Willemsen G, Zagato L, Zgaga L, Zitting P, Alavere H, Farrall M, McArdle WL, Nelis M, Peters MJ, Ripatti S, van Meurs JB, Aben KK, Ardlie KG, Beckmann JS, Beilby JP, Bergman RN, Bergmann S, Collins FS, Cusi D, den Heijer M, Eiriksdottir G, Gejman PV, Hall AS, Hamsten A, Huikuri HV, Iribarren C, Kähönen M, Kaprio J, Kathiresan S, Kiemeney L, Kocher T, Launer LJ, Lehtimäki T, Melander O, Mosley TH, Musk AW, Nieminen MS, O'Donnell CJ, Ohlsson C, Oostra B, Palmer LJ, Raitakari O, Ridker PM, Rioux JD, Rissanen A, Rivolta C, Schunkert H, Shuldiner AR, Siscovick DS, Stumvoll M, Tönjes A, Tuomilehto J, van Ommen GJ, Viikari J, Heath AC, Martin NG, Montgomery GW, Province MA, Kayser M, Arnold AM, Atwood LD, Boerwinkle E, Chanock SJ, Deloukas P, Gieger C, Grönberg H, Hall P, Hattersley AT, Hengstenberg C, Hoffman W, Lathrop GM, Salomaa V, Schreiber S, Uda M, Waterworth D, Wright AF, Assimes TL, Barroso I, Hofman A, Mohlke KL, Boomsma DI, Caulfield MJ, Cupples LA, Erdmann J, Fox CS, Gudnason V, Gyllensten U, Harris TB, Hayes RB, Järvelin MR, Mooser V, Munroe PB, Ouwehand WH, Penninx BW, Pramstaller PP, Quertermous T, Rudan I, Samani NJ, Spector TD, Völzke H, Watkins H, Wilson JF, Groop LC, Haritunians T, Hu FB, Kaplan RC, Metspalu A, North KE, Schlessinger D, Wareham NJ, Hunter DJ, O'Connell JR, Strachan DP, Wichmann HE, Borecki IB, van Duijn CM, Schadt EE, Thorsteinsdottir U, Peltonen L, Uitterlinden AG, Visscher PM, Chatterjee N, Loos RJ, Boehnke M, McCarthy MI, Ingelsson E, Lindgren CM, Abecasis GR, Stefansson K, Frayling TM, and Hirschhorn JN
DOI : 10.1038/nature09410
PubMed ID : 20881960
PMCID : PMC2955183
Most common human traits and diseases have a polygenic pattern of inheritance: DNA sequence variants at many genetic loci influence the phenotype. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified more than 600 variants associated with human traits, but these typically explain small fractions of phenotypic variation, raising questions about the use of further studies. Here, using 183,727 individuals, we show that hundreds of genetic variants, in at least 180 loci, influence adult height, a highly heritable and classic polygenic trait. The large number of loci reveals patterns with important implications for genetic studies of common human diseases and traits. First, the 180 loci are not random, but instead are enriched for genes that are connected in biological pathways (P = 0.016) and that underlie skeletal growth defects (P < 0.001). Second, the likely causal gene is often located near the most strongly associated variant: in 13 of 21 loci containing a known skeletal growth gene, that gene was closest to the associated variant. Third, at least 19 loci have multiple independently associated variants, suggesting that allelic heterogeneity is a frequent feature of polygenic traits, that comprehensive explorations of already-discovered loci should discover additional variants and that an appreciable fraction of associated loci may have been identified. Fourth, associated variants are enriched for likely functional effects on genes, being over-represented among variants that alter amino-acid structure of proteins and expression levels of nearby genes. Our data explain approximately 10% of the phenotypic variation in height, and we estimate that unidentified common variants of similar effect sizes would increase this figure to approximately 16% of phenotypic variation (approximately 20% of heritable variation). Although additional approaches are needed to dissect the genetic architecture of polygenic human traits fully, our findings indicate that GWA studies can identify large numbers of loci that implicate biologically relevant genes and pathways.