Publications by authors named "Evelin Mihailov"

82 Publications

Sex-dimorphic genetic effects and novel loci for fasting glucose and insulin variability.

Nat Commun 2021 01 5;12(1):24. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Differences between sexes contribute to variation in the levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Epidemiological studies established a higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in men and impaired glucose tolerance in women, however, the genetic component underlying this phenomenon is not established. We assess sex-dimorphic (73,089/50,404 women and 67,506/47,806 men) and sex-combined (151,188/105,056 individuals) fasting glucose/fasting insulin genetic effects via genome-wide association study meta-analyses in individuals of European descent without diabetes. Here we report sex dimorphism in allelic effects on fasting insulin at IRS1 and ZNF12 loci, the latter showing higher RNA expression in whole blood in women compared to men. We also observe sex-homogeneous effects on fasting glucose at seven novel loci. Fasting insulin in women shows stronger genetic correlations than in men with waist-to-hip ratio and anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, waist-to-hip ratio is causally related to insulin resistance in women, but not in men. These results position dissection of metabolic and glycemic health sex dimorphism as a steppingstone for understanding differences in genetic effects between women and men in related phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19366-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785747PMC
January 2021

Genetic Predisposition to Coronary Artery Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2020 12 13;13(6):e002769. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics (A.D.M.), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K.

Background: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is accelerated in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D).

Methods: To test whether this reflects differential genetic influences on CAD risk in subjects with T2D, we performed a systematic assessment of genetic overlap between CAD and T2D in 66 643 subjects (27 708 with CAD and 24 259 with T2D). Variants showing apparent association with CAD in stratified analyses or evidence of interaction were evaluated in a further 117 787 subjects (16 694 with CAD and 11 537 with T2D).

Results: None of the previously characterized CAD loci was found to have specific effects on CAD in T2D individuals, and a genome-wide interaction analysis found no new variants for CAD that could be considered T2D specific. When we considered the overall genetic correlations between CAD and its risk factors, we found no substantial differences in these relationships by T2D background.

Conclusions: This study found no evidence that the genetic architecture of CAD differs in those with T2D compared with those without T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002769DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748049PMC
December 2020

Genome-Wide Association Scan of Serum Urea in European Populations Identifies Two Novel Loci.

Am J Nephrol 2019 26;49(3):193-202. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Lifelines Cohort Study and Biobank, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Serum urea level is a heritable trait, commonly used as a diagnostic marker for kidney function. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in East-Asian populations identified a number of genetic loci related to serum urea, however there is a paucity of data for European populations.

Methods: We performed a two-stage meta-analysis of GWASs on serum urea in 13,312 participants, with independent replication in 7,379 participants of European ancestry.

Results: We identified 6 genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 6 loci, of which 2 were novel (POU2AF1 and ADAMTS9-AS2). Replication of East-Asian and Scottish data provided evidence for an additional 8 loci. SNPs tag regions previously associated with anthropometric traits, serum magnesium, and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio, as well as expression quantitative trait loci for genes preferentially expressed in kidney and gastro-intestinal tissues.

Conclusions: Our findings provide insights into the genetic underpinnings of urea metabolism, with potential relevance to kidney function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000496930DOI Listing
May 2020

Protein-coding variants implicate novel genes related to lipid homeostasis contributing to body-fat distribution.

Nat Genet 2019 03 18;51(3):452-469. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Body-fat distribution is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular health consequences. We analyzed the association of body-fat distribution, assessed by waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index, with 228,985 predicted coding and splice site variants available on exome arrays in up to 344,369 individuals from five major ancestries (discovery) and 132,177 European-ancestry individuals (validation). We identified 15 common (minor allele frequency, MAF ≥5%) and nine low-frequency or rare (MAF <5%) coding novel variants. Pathway/gene set enrichment analyses identified lipid particle, adiponectin, abnormal white adipose tissue physiology and bone development and morphology as important contributors to fat distribution, while cross-trait associations highlight cardiometabolic traits. In functional follow-up analyses, specifically in Drosophila RNAi-knockdowns, we observed a significant increase in the total body triglyceride levels for two genes (DNAH10 and PLXND1). We implicate novel genes in fat distribution, stressing the importance of interrogating low-frequency and protein-coding variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0334-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560635PMC
March 2019

Meta-analysis of up to 622,409 individuals identifies 40 novel smoking behaviour associated genetic loci.

Mol Psychiatry 2020 10 7;25(10):2392-2409. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Department of Complex Trait Genetics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Smoking is a major heritable and modifiable risk factor for many diseases, including cancer, common respiratory disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Fourteen genetic loci have previously been associated with smoking behaviour-related traits. We tested up to 235,116 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) on the exome-array for association with smoking initiation, cigarettes per day, pack-years, and smoking cessation in a fixed effects meta-analysis of up to 61 studies (up to 346,813 participants). In a subset of 112,811 participants, a further one million SNVs were also genotyped and tested for association with the four smoking behaviour traits. SNV-trait associations with P < 5 × 10 in either analysis were taken forward for replication in up to 275,596 independent participants from UK Biobank. Lastly, a meta-analysis of the discovery and replication studies was performed. Sixteen SNVs were associated with at least one of the smoking behaviour traits (P < 5 × 10) in the discovery samples. Ten novel SNVs, including rs12616219 near TMEM182, were followed-up and five of them (rs462779 in REV3L, rs12780116 in CNNM2, rs1190736 in GPR101, rs11539157 in PJA1, and rs12616219 near TMEM182) replicated at a Bonferroni significance threshold (P < 4.5 × 10) with consistent direction of effect. A further 35 SNVs were associated with smoking behaviour traits in the discovery plus replication meta-analysis (up to 622,409 participants) including a rare SNV, rs150493199, in CCDC141 and two low-frequency SNVs in CEP350 and HDGFRP2. Functional follow-up implied that decreased expression of REV3L may lower the probability of smoking initiation. The novel loci will facilitate understanding the genetic aetiology of smoking behaviour and may lead to the identification of potential drug targets for smoking prevention and/or cessation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0313-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7515840PMC
October 2020

Genome Analyses of >200,000 Individuals Identify 58 Loci for Chronic Inflammation and Highlight Pathways that Link Inflammation and Complex Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 11;103(5):691-706

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 1000 Genomes imputed data, of circulating amounts of CRP by using data from 88 studies comprising 204,402 European individuals. Additionally, we performed in silico functional analyses and Mendelian randomization analyses with several clinical outcomes. The GWAS meta-analyses of CRP revealed 58 distinct genetic loci (p < 5 × 10). After adjustment for body mass index in the regression analysis, the associations at all except three loci remained. The lead variants at the distinct loci explained up to 7.0% of the variance in circulating amounts of CRP. We identified 66 gene sets that were organized in two substantially correlated clusters, one mainly composed of immune pathways and the other characterized by metabolic pathways in the liver. Mendelian randomization analyses revealed a causal protective effect of CRP on schizophrenia and a risk-increasing effect on bipolar disorder. Our findings provide further insights into the biology of inflammation and could lead to interventions for treating inflammation and its clinical consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.09.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218410PMC
November 2018

Genome Analyses of >200,000 Individuals Identify 58 Loci for Chronic Inflammation and Highlight Pathways that Link Inflammation and Complex Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 11;103(5):691-706

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 1000 Genomes imputed data, of circulating amounts of CRP by using data from 88 studies comprising 204,402 European individuals. Additionally, we performed in silico functional analyses and Mendelian randomization analyses with several clinical outcomes. The GWAS meta-analyses of CRP revealed 58 distinct genetic loci (p < 5 × 10). After adjustment for body mass index in the regression analysis, the associations at all except three loci remained. The lead variants at the distinct loci explained up to 7.0% of the variance in circulating amounts of CRP. We identified 66 gene sets that were organized in two substantially correlated clusters, one mainly composed of immune pathways and the other characterized by metabolic pathways in the liver. Mendelian randomization analyses revealed a causal protective effect of CRP on schizophrenia and a risk-increasing effect on bipolar disorder. Our findings provide further insights into the biology of inflammation and could lead to interventions for treating inflammation and its clinical consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.09.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218410PMC
November 2018

Sequence data and association statistics from 12,940 type 2 diabetes cases and controls.

Sci Data 2017 12 19;4:170179. Epub 2017 Dec 19.

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

To investigate the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) to high resolution, the GoT2D and T2D-GENES consortia catalogued variation from whole-genome sequencing of 2,657 European individuals and exome sequencing of 12,940 individuals of multiple ancestries. Over 27M SNPs, indels, and structural variants were identified, including 99% of low-frequency (minor allele frequency [MAF] 0.1-5%) non-coding variants in the whole-genome sequenced individuals and 99.7% of low-frequency coding variants in the whole-exome sequenced individuals. Each variant was tested for association with T2D in the sequenced individuals, and, to increase power, most were tested in larger numbers of individuals (>80% of low-frequency coding variants in ~82 K Europeans via the exome chip, and ~90% of low-frequency non-coding variants in ~44 K Europeans via genotype imputation). The variants, genotypes, and association statistics from these analyses provide the largest reference to date of human genetic information relevant to T2D, for use in activities such as T2D-focused genotype imputation, functional characterization of variants or genes, and other novel analyses to detect associations between sequence variation and T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2017.179DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5735917PMC
December 2017

Genome-wide association meta-analysis of fish and EPA+DHA consumption in 17 US and European cohorts.

PLoS One 2017 13;12(12):e0186456. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America.

Background: Regular fish and omega-3 consumption may have several health benefits and are recommended by major dietary guidelines. Yet, their intakes remain remarkably variable both within and across populations, which could partly owe to genetic influences.

Objective: To identify common genetic variants that influence fish and dietary eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA) consumption.

Design: We conducted genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis of fish (n = 86,467) and EPA+DHA (n = 62,265) consumption in 17 cohorts of European descent from the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium Nutrition Working Group. Results from cohort-specific GWA analyses (additive model) for fish and EPA+DHA consumption were adjusted for age, sex, energy intake, and population stratification, and meta-analyzed separately using fixed-effect meta-analysis with inverse variance weights (METAL software). Additionally, heritability was estimated in 2 cohorts.

Results: Heritability estimates for fish and EPA+DHA consumption ranged from 0.13-0.24 and 0.12-0.22, respectively. A significant GWA for fish intake was observed for rs9502823 on chromosome 6: each copy of the minor allele (FreqA = 0.015) was associated with 0.029 servings/day (~1 serving/month) lower fish consumption (P = 1.96x10-8). No significant association was observed for EPA+DHA, although rs7206790 in the obesity-associated FTO gene was among top hits (P = 8.18x10-7). Post-hoc calculations demonstrated 95% statistical power to detect a genetic variant associated with effect size of 0.05% for fish and 0.08% for EPA+DHA.

Conclusions: These novel findings suggest that non-genetic personal and environmental factors are principal determinants of the remarkable variation in fish consumption, representing modifiable targets for increasing intakes among all individuals. Genes underlying the signal at rs72838923 and mechanisms for the association warrant further investigation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186456PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5728559PMC
January 2018

Ranking and characterization of established BMI and lipid associated loci as candidates for gene-environment interactions.

PLoS Genet 2017 Jun 14;13(6):e1006812. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Phenotypic variance heterogeneity across genotypes at a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) may reflect underlying gene-environment (G×E) or gene-gene interactions. We modeled variance heterogeneity for blood lipids and BMI in up to 44,211 participants and investigated relationships between variance effects (Pv), G×E interaction effects (with smoking and physical activity), and marginal genetic effects (Pm). Correlations between Pv and Pm were stronger for SNPs with established marginal effects (Spearman's ρ = 0.401 for triglycerides, and ρ = 0.236 for BMI) compared to all SNPs. When Pv and Pm were compared for all pruned SNPs, only BMI was statistically significant (Spearman's ρ = 0.010). Overall, SNPs with established marginal effects were overrepresented in the nominally significant part of the Pv distribution (Pbinomial <0.05). SNPs from the top 1% of the Pm distribution for BMI had more significant Pv values (PMann-Whitney = 1.46×10-5), and the odds ratio of SNPs with nominally significant (<0.05) Pm and Pv was 1.33 (95% CI: 1.12, 1.57) for BMI. Moreover, BMI SNPs with nominally significant G×E interaction P-values (Pint<0.05) were enriched with nominally significant Pv values (Pbinomial = 8.63×10-9 and 8.52×10-7 for SNP × smoking and SNP × physical activity, respectively). We conclude that some loci with strong marginal effects may be good candidates for G×E, and variance-based prioritization can be used to identify them.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006812DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489225PMC
June 2017

An Expanded Genome-Wide Association Study of Type 2 Diabetes in Europeans.

Diabetes 2017 11 31;66(11):2888-2902. Epub 2017 May 31.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.

To characterize type 2 diabetes (T2D)-associated variation across the allele frequency spectrum, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data from 26,676 T2D case and 132,532 control subjects of European ancestry after imputation using the 1000 Genomes multiethnic reference panel. Promising association signals were followed up in additional data sets (of 14,545 or 7,397 T2D case and 38,994 or 71,604 control subjects). We identified 13 novel T2D-associated loci ( < 5 × 10), including variants near the , , and genes. Our analysis brought the total number of independent T2D associations to 128 distinct signals at 113 loci. Despite substantially increased sample size and more complete coverage of low-frequency variation, all novel associations were driven by common single nucleotide variants. Credible sets of potentially causal variants were generally larger than those based on imputation with earlier reference panels, consistent with resolution of causal signals to common risk haplotypes. Stratification of T2D-associated loci based on T2D-related quantitative trait associations revealed tissue-specific enrichment of regulatory annotations in pancreatic islet enhancers for loci influencing insulin secretion and in adipocytes, monocytes, and hepatocytes for insulin action-associated loci. These findings highlight the predominant role played by common variants of modest effect and the diversity of biological mechanisms influencing T2D pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db16-1253DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5652602PMC
November 2017

1000 Genomes-based meta-analysis identifies 10 novel loci for kidney function.

Sci Rep 2017 04 28;7:45040. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Department of Nephrology, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

HapMap imputed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed >50 loci at which common variants with minor allele frequency >5% are associated with kidney function. GWAS using more complete reference sets for imputation, such as those from The 1000 Genomes project, promise to identify novel loci that have been missed by previous efforts. To investigate the value of such a more complete variant catalog, we conducted a GWAS meta-analysis of kidney function based on the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in 110,517 European ancestry participants using 1000 Genomes imputed data. We identified 10 novel loci with p-value < 5 × 10 previously missed by HapMap-based GWAS. Six of these loci (HOXD8, ARL15, PIK3R1, EYA4, ASTN2, and EPB41L3) are tagged by common SNPs unique to the 1000 Genomes reference panel. Using pathway analysis, we identified 39 significant (FDR < 0.05) genes and 127 significantly (FDR < 0.05) enriched gene sets, which were missed by our previous analyses. Among those, the 10 identified novel genes are part of pathways of kidney development, carbohydrate metabolism, cardiac septum development and glucose metabolism. These results highlight the utility of re-imputing from denser reference panels, until whole-genome sequencing becomes feasible in large samples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep45040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408227PMC
April 2017

Demographic associations for autoantibodies in disease-free individuals of a European population.

Sci Rep 2017 03 28;7:44846. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

Institute of Bio- and Translational Medicine, Department of Immunology, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, Tartu 50411, Estonia.

The presence of autoantibodies usually precedes autoimmune disease, but is sometimes considered an incidental finding with no clinical relevance. The prevalence of immune-mediated diseases was studied in a group of individuals from the Estonian Genome Project (n = 51,862), and 6 clinically significant autoantibodies were detected in a subgroup of 994 (auto)immune-mediated disease-free individuals. The overall prevalence of individuals with immune-mediated diseases in the primary cohort was 30.1%. Similarly, 23.6% of the participants in the disease-free subgroup were seropositive for at least one autoantibody. Several phenotypic parameters were associated with autoantibodies. The results suggest that (i) immune-mediated diseases are diagnosed in nearly one-third of a random European population, (ii) 6 common autoantibodies are detectable in almost one-third of individuals without diagnosed autoimmune diseases, (iii) tissue non-specific autoantibodies, especially at high levels, may reflect preclinical disease in symptom-free individuals, and (iv) the incidental positivity of anti-TPO in men with positive familial anamnesis of maternal autoimmune disease deserves further medical attention. These results encourage physicians to evaluate autoantibodies in addition to treating a variety of patient health complaints to detect autoimmune-mediated disease early.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep44846DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5368634PMC
March 2017

A Low-Frequency Inactivating Variant Enriched in the Finnish Population Is Associated With Fasting Insulin Levels and Type 2 Diabetes Risk.

Diabetes 2017 07 24;66(7):2019-2032. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Diabetes and Endocrinology Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University Diabetes Centre, Malmö, Sweden.

To identify novel coding association signals and facilitate characterization of mechanisms influencing glycemic traits and type 2 diabetes risk, we analyzed 109,215 variants derived from exome array genotyping together with an additional 390,225 variants from exome sequence in up to 39,339 normoglycemic individuals from five ancestry groups. We identified a novel association between the coding variant (p.Pro50Thr) in and fasting plasma insulin (FI), a gene in which rare fully penetrant mutations are causal for monogenic glycemic disorders. The low-frequency allele is associated with a 12% increase in FI levels. This variant is present at 1.1% frequency in Finns but virtually absent in individuals from other ancestries. Carriers of the FI-increasing allele had increased 2-h insulin values, decreased insulin sensitivity, and increased risk of type 2 diabetes (odds ratio 1.05). In cellular studies, the AKT2-Thr50 protein exhibited a partial loss of function. We extend the allelic spectrum for coding variants in associated with disorders of glucose homeostasis and demonstrate bidirectional effects of variants within the pleckstrin homology domain of .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db16-1329DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5482074PMC
July 2017

Systematic Evaluation of Pleiotropy Identifies 6 Further Loci Associated With Coronary Artery Disease.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2017 Feb;69(7):823-836

Department of Biostatistics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have so far identified 56 loci associated with risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). Many CAD loci show pleiotropy; that is, they are also associated with other diseases or traits.

Objectives: This study sought to systematically test if genetic variants identified for non-CAD diseases/traits also associate with CAD and to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the extent of pleiotropy of all CAD loci.

Methods: In discovery analyses involving 42,335 CAD cases and 78,240 control subjects we tested the association of 29,383 common (minor allele frequency >5%) single nucleotide polymorphisms available on the exome array, which included a substantial proportion of known or suspected single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with common diseases or traits as of 2011. Suggestive association signals were replicated in an additional 30,533 cases and 42,530 control subjects. To evaluate pleiotropy, we tested CAD loci for association with cardiovascular risk factors (lipid traits, blood pressure phenotypes, body mass index, diabetes, and smoking behavior), as well as with other diseases/traits through interrogation of currently available genome-wide association study catalogs.

Results: We identified 6 new loci associated with CAD at genome-wide significance: on 2q37 (KCNJ13-GIGYF2), 6p21 (C2), 11p15 (MRVI1-CTR9), 12q13 (LRP1), 12q24 (SCARB1), and 16q13 (CETP). Risk allele frequencies ranged from 0.15 to 0.86, and odds ratio per copy of the risk allele ranged from 1.04 to 1.09. Of 62 new and known CAD loci, 24 (38.7%) showed statistical association with a traditional cardiovascular risk factor, with some showing multiple associations, and 29 (47%) showed associations at p < 1 × 10 with a range of other diseases/traits.

Conclusions: We identified 6 loci associated with CAD at genome-wide significance. Several CAD loci show substantial pleiotropy, which may help us understand the mechanisms by which these loci affect CAD risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2016.11.056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5314135PMC
February 2017

and Loci Identified through Large-Scale Exome Chip Analysis Regulate Kidney Development and Function.

J Am Soc Nephrol 2017 Mar 5;28(3):981-994. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

Institute of Hematology, Rui Jin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.

Genome-wide association studies have identified >50 common variants associated with kidney function, but these variants do not fully explain the variation in eGFR. We performed a two-stage meta-analysis of associations between genotypes from the Illumina exome array and eGFR on the basis of serum creatinine (eGFRcrea) among participants of European ancestry from the CKDGen Consortium (: 111,666; : 48,343). In single-variant analyses, we identified single nucleotide polymorphisms at seven new loci associated with eGFRcrea (, , and ; <3.7×10), of which most were common and annotated as nonsynonymous variants. Gene-based analysis identified associations of functional rare variants in three genes with eGFRcrea, including a novel association with the SOS Ras/Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 2 gene, (=5.4×10 by sequence kernel association test). Experimental follow-up in zebrafish embryos revealed changes in glomerular gene expression and renal tubule morphology in the embryonic kidney of and -knockdowns. These developmental abnormalities associated with altered blood clearance rate and heightened prevalence of edema. This study expands the number of loci associated with kidney function and identifies novel genes with potential roles in kidney formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2016020131DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5328154PMC
March 2017

A principal component meta-analysis on multiple anthropometric traits identifies novel loci for body shape.

Nat Commun 2016 11 23;7:13357. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Québec, Québec, Canada G1V 0A6.

Large consortia have revealed hundreds of genetic loci associated with anthropometric traits, one trait at a time. We examined whether genetic variants affect body shape as a composite phenotype that is represented by a combination of anthropometric traits. We developed an approach that calculates averaged PCs (AvPCs) representing body shape derived from six anthropometric traits (body mass index, height, weight, waist and hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio). The first four AvPCs explain >99% of the variability, are heritable, and associate with cardiometabolic outcomes. We performed genome-wide association analyses for each body shape composite phenotype across 65 studies and meta-analysed summary statistics. We identify six novel loci: LEMD2 and CD47 for AvPC1, RPS6KA5/C14orf159 and GANAB for AvPC3, and ARL15 and ANP32 for AvPC4. Our findings highlight the value of using multiple traits to define complex phenotypes for discovery, which are not captured by single-trait analyses, and may shed light onto new pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13357DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5114527PMC
November 2016

Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior.

Nat Genet 2016 12 31;48(12):1462-1472. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior-age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)-has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood. We report a large genome-wide association study of both sexes including 251,151 individuals for AFB and 343,072 individuals for NEB. We identified 12 independent loci that are significantly associated with AFB and/or NEB in a SNP-based genome-wide association study and 4 additional loci associated in a gene-based effort. These loci harbor genes that are likely to have a role, either directly or by affecting non-local gene expression, in human reproduction and infertility, thereby increasing understanding of these complex traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5695684PMC
December 2016

No Association of Coronary Artery Disease with X-Chromosomal Variants in Comprehensive International Meta-Analysis.

Sci Rep 2016 10 12;6:35278. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

Estonian Genome Center, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

In recent years, genome-wide association studies have identified 58 independent risk loci for coronary artery disease (CAD) on the autosome. However, due to the sex-specific data structure of the X chromosome, it has been excluded from most of these analyses. While females have 2 copies of chromosome X, males have only one. Also, one of the female X chromosomes may be inactivated. Therefore, special test statistics and quality control procedures are required. Thus, little is known about the role of X-chromosomal variants in CAD. To fill this gap, we conducted a comprehensive X-chromosome-wide meta-analysis including more than 43,000 CAD cases and 58,000 controls from 35 international study cohorts. For quality control, sex-specific filters were used to adequately take the special structure of X-chromosomal data into account. For single study analyses, several logistic regression models were calculated allowing for inactivation of one female X-chromosome, adjusting for sex and investigating interactions between sex and genetic variants. Then, meta-analyses including all 35 studies were conducted using random effects models. None of the investigated models revealed genome-wide significant associations for any variant. Although we analyzed the largest-to-date sample, currently available methods were not able to detect any associations of X-chromosomal variants with CAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep35278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5059659PMC
October 2016

Genomic analyses inform on migration events during the peopling of Eurasia.

Nature 2016 Oct 21;538(7624):238-242. Epub 2016 Sep 21.

Department of Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

High-coverage whole-genome sequence studies have so far focused on a limited number of geographically restricted populations, or been targeted at specific diseases, such as cancer. Nevertheless, the availability of high-resolution genomic data has led to the development of new methodologies for inferring population history and refuelled the debate on the mutation rate in humans. Here we present the Estonian Biocentre Human Genome Diversity Panel (EGDP), a dataset of 483 high-coverage human genomes from 148 populations worldwide, including 379 new genomes from 125 populations, which we group into diversity and selection sets. We analyse this dataset to refine estimates of continent-wide patterns of heterozygosity, long- and short-distance gene flow, archaic admixture, and changes in effective population size through time as well as for signals of positive or balancing selection. We find a genetic signature in present-day Papuans that suggests that at least 2% of their genome originates from an early and largely extinct expansion of anatomically modern humans (AMHs) out of Africa. Together with evidence from the western Asian fossil record, and admixture between AMHs and Neanderthals predating the main Eurasian expansion, our results contribute to the mounting evidence for the presence of AMHs out of Africa earlier than 75,000 years ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19792DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5164938PMC
October 2016

Trans-ancestry meta-analyses identify rare and common variants associated with blood pressure and hypertension.

Nat Genet 2016 10 12;48(10):1151-1161. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Medical Genomics and Metabolic Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death. However, there is limited knowledge on specific causal genes and pathways. To better understand the genetics of blood pressure, we genotyped 242,296 rare, low-frequency and common genetic variants in up to 192,763 individuals and used ∼155,063 samples for independent replication. We identified 30 new blood pressure- or hypertension-associated genetic regions in the general population, including 3 rare missense variants in RBM47, COL21A1 and RRAS with larger effects (>1.5 mm Hg/allele) than common variants. Multiple rare nonsense and missense variant associations were found in A2ML1, and a low-frequency nonsense variant in ENPEP was identified. Our data extend the spectrum of allelic variation underlying blood pressure traits and hypertension, provide new insights into the pathophysiology of hypertension and indicate new targets for clinical intervention.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5056636PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3654DOI Listing
October 2016

The genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes.

Nature 2016 08 11;536(7614):41-47. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

The genetic architecture of common traits, including the number, frequency, and effect sizes of inherited variants that contribute to individual risk, has been long debated. Genome-wide association studies have identified scores of common variants associated with type 2 diabetes, but in aggregate, these explain only a fraction of the heritability of this disease. Here, to test the hypothesis that lower-frequency variants explain much of the remainder, the GoT2D and T2D-GENES consortia performed whole-genome sequencing in 2,657 European individuals with and without diabetes, and exome sequencing in 12,940 individuals from five ancestry groups. To increase statistical power, we expanded the sample size via genotyping and imputation in a further 111,548 subjects. Variants associated with type 2 diabetes after sequencing were overwhelmingly common and most fell within regions previously identified by genome-wide association studies. Comprehensive enumeration of sequence variation is necessary to identify functional alleles that provide important clues to disease pathophysiology, but large-scale sequencing does not support the idea that lower-frequency variants have a major role in predisposition to type 2 diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature18642DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034897PMC
August 2016

Large-Scale Exome-wide Association Analysis Identifies Loci for White Blood Cell Traits and Pleiotropy with Immune-Mediated Diseases.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 Jul 23;99(1):22-39. Epub 2016 Jun 23.

Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.

White blood cells play diverse roles in innate and adaptive immunity. Genetic association analyses of phenotypic variation in circulating white blood cell (WBC) counts from large samples of otherwise healthy individuals can provide insights into genes and biologic pathways involved in production, differentiation, or clearance of particular WBC lineages (myeloid, lymphoid) and also potentially inform the genetic basis of autoimmune, allergic, and blood diseases. We performed an exome array-based meta-analysis of total WBC and subtype counts (neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, basophils, and eosinophils) in a multi-ancestry discovery and replication sample of ∼157,622 individuals from 25 studies. We identified 16 common variants (8 of which were coding variants) associated with one or more WBC traits, the majority of which are pleiotropically associated with autoimmune diseases. Based on functional annotation, these loci included genes encoding surface markers of myeloid, lymphoid, or hematopoietic stem cell differentiation (CD69, CD33, CD87), transcription factors regulating lineage specification during hematopoiesis (ASXL1, IRF8, IKZF1, JMJD1C, ETS2-PSMG1), and molecules involved in neutrophil clearance/apoptosis (C10orf54, LTA), adhesion (TNXB), or centrosome and microtubule structure/function (KIF9, TUBD1). Together with recent reports of somatic ASXL1 mutations among individuals with idiopathic cytopenias or clonal hematopoiesis of undetermined significance, the identification of a common regulatory 3' UTR variant of ASXL1 suggests that both germline and somatic ASXL1 mutations contribute to lower blood counts in otherwise asymptomatic individuals. These association results shed light on genetic mechanisms that regulate circulating WBC counts and suggest a prominent shared genetic architecture with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5005433PMC
July 2016
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