Adult height is a classic polygenic trait of high heritability (h 2 ~0.8). More than 180 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), identified mostly in populations of European descent, are associated with height. These variants convey modest effects and explain ~10% of the variance in height. Discovery efforts in other populations, while limited, have revealed loci for height not previously implicated in individuals of European ancestry. Here, we performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) results for adult height in 20,427 individuals of African ancestry with replication in up to 16,436 African Americans. We found two novel height loci (Xp22-rs12393627, P = 3.4×10 -12 and 2p14-rs4315565, P = 1.2×10 -8). As a group, height associations discovered in European-ancestry samples replicate in individuals of African ancestry (P = 1.7×10 -4 for overall replication). Fine-mapping of the European height loci in African-ancestry individuals showed an enrichment of SNPs that are associated with expression of nearby genes when compared to the index European height SNPs (P<0.01). Our results highlight the utility of genetic studies in non-European populations to understand the etiology of complex human diseases and traits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research