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Media opportunity: Measuring up: Researchers identify 12,000 genetic variants linked to height in discovery that could help predict how tall someone might be
An international team of researchers has identified more than 12,000 genetic variants that influence height in a study that analyzed data from millions of people and opens the door for DNA to be used in predicting height more accurately.
The study, published this week in the journal Nature, is the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date, having used genotyping data from nearly 5.4 million individuals from a range of ancestries.
The team, including Manuel Mattheisen of Dalhousie University, identified 12,111 independent genetic variants that are significantly associated with height. The authors suggest these variations account for nearly all common variants associated with height, particularly in populations of European ancestry.
When they looked at the position of these variants across the genome they found variants were more likely to be clustered close to genes already known to be associated with skeletal growth disorders. The findings provide detailed biological insight as to why people are tall or short, and may be used to help diagnose potential health issues in children that may be stunting their growth.
Dr. Mattheisen, an associate professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, is available to discuss this hallmark study and how it could be used in research into other traits and diseases controlled by genes.
Senior Research Reporter
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