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Gene Variant Linked to Increased Human Stature

Children, adults who carry rs1042725 variant of HMGA2 oncogene are taller than non-carriers

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A common variant in the HMGA2 oncogene is associated with increased height in children and adults, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 2 in Nature Genetics.

Timothy M. Frayling, Ph.D., of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, U.K., and colleagues studied genetic variants influencing height by analyzing genomewide association data from 4,921 subjects. They found that carriers of the rs1042725 variant were taller than non-carriers.

The researchers confirmed the association in 19,064 adults who were enrolled in four other studies and also observed the association in children and in a tall/short case-control study. They estimated that rs1042725 accounts for about 0.3 percent of the variation in height among the general population and about a 0.4 centimeter increase in adult height per C allele.

"The effect on growth is present in individuals as early as 7 years of age," the authors write. "To our knowledge, these results represent the first reproducible association of a common variant with human stature and suggest that by analyzing data from many thousands of individuals, it will now finally be possible to dissect the genetics of this highly heritable polygenic trait. Insights gained from the study of height are likely to have general implications for the study of other complex traits and common diseases."

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