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Researchers uncover new piece to the puzzle of human height
Date:1/13/2008

n a quantitative trait such as height, researchers survey each participants complete set of DNA, or genome, looking for strategically selected markers of genetic variation.

If average height differs for individuals with certain genetic variants, this indicates that something in that chromosomal neighborhood likely influences height. In this particular study, researchers initially examined the effects of more than 2 million genetic variants. The variants detected using this approach can accurately point to the region of the genome involved, but may not themselves directly influence the trait. This means researchers often need to take additional steps, such as sequencing the DNA in that particular region of the genome, to identify the exact genetic variant that affects the trait.

The completion of the map of human genetic variation, or HapMap, has fueled a surge in genome-wide association studies, with most of the increase coming in the past 10 months. Researchers around the globe have now associated more than 60 common DNA variants with the risk of more than 20 common diseases or related traits.

Genome-wide association studies often require the skills of researchers from many different institutions and many different disciplines. By working together in a collaborative manner, we can tackle the complexities of common disease and quantitative traits far more efficiently than we could working alone, said Gonalo R. Abecasis, D.Phil., a statistical geneticist of the University of Michigans School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, who co-directed the analyses with Dr. Mohlke.

This latest work was accomplished as a result of innovative international partnerships with scientists and study participants. Researchers began by scanning the genomes of nearly 4,300 people from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia and more than 2,300 people from Finland. The initial findings were then validated by follow-up studies involving more than 24,000 additi
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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