More genes linked with genetics of height

EXETER, England (UPI) — British scientists who last year identified the first common version of a gene influencing height have now identified 20 genome regions that do the same.

The researchers said the findings in independent studies from Peninsula Medical School in Exeter and the University of Oxford mean scientists now know of dozens of genes and genetic regions that influence humans’ height, providing insights into how the body grows and develops normally and might shed light on diseases such as osteoarthritis and cancer.

Unlike a number of other body size characteristics such as obesity, which is caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors, 90 percent of normal variation in human height is due to genetic factors rather than, for example, diet, said Dr. Tim Frayling, a professor at Peninsula, and Oxford Professor Mark McCarthy.

“The number and variety of genetic regions that we have found show height is not just caused by a few genes operating in the long bones,” Frayling said. “Instead, our research implicates genes that could shed light on a whole range of important biological processes … not just height disorders, but also tumor growth, for example.”

The research appears online in the journal Nature Genetics.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


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