180 Loci

September 26, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

Height is a classic polygenic trait which means it’s influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Up to 90% of the variation in height is determined by inherited factors. Until now only a fraction of this 90% has been profiled succesfully. However, recent advances in genetics and genomics now permit comprehensive genome-wide surveys of common genetic variations associated with stature. From each sample of DNA millions of genetic variants are read using SNP arrays. If one type of the variant frequently occurs in relation to specific growth characteristics the SNP is said to be “associated” with stature. The associated SNPs are then considered to mark a region of the human genome which influences stature. By comparing genetic material of over 184.000 people researchers have identified 180 such loci.

A careful analysis of each location and the ability to translate genetic associations into mechanistic biological insights will provide greater control over just how tall we allow ourselves to get.