The Peruvian Variant

Nearly 4,000 common variations in DNA are known to affect stature. Each variant nudges your height up, or down, with one millimeter or so. But now researchers have identified the single largest genetic contributor to human height known to date. The sensational findings of the effects of the previously unknown variant (E1297G) of the FBN1 gene are based on an analysis of samples from ethnically diverse Peruvians, a population known to have some of the shortest stature in the world. The variant was associated with an average of 2.2 centimeters in height reduction. People with two copies of the gene variant were even a whopping 4.4 centimeters shorter.

Meta analyses of genetic studies of height have predominately been conducted on European populations and include more than 700,000 individuals. The new variant was not present in any of the large genetic studies simply because Peruvians had never been included in any genomic studies of height. According to researcher Soumya Raychaudhuri “Just amassing and amassing data isn’t the answer. If you’re not looking at different populations, you’re going to miss really important stuff.”

Important stuff like how we could shrink towards abundance rather than grow towards scarcity. Quite tellingly the Peruvian flag features a horn of plenty overflowing with produce. Small people need less and therefor have more. The Peruvian variant E1297G could show us the way.