Publications by authors named "Kristin L Young"

36 Publications

Transcriptome-Wide Association Study of Blood Cell Traits in African Ancestry and Hispanic/Latino Populations.

Genes (Basel) 2021 Jul 8;12(7). Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Background: Thousands of genetic variants have been associated with hematological traits, though target genes remain unknown at most loci. Moreover, limited analyses have been conducted in African ancestry and Hispanic/Latino populations; hematological trait associated variants more common in these populations have likely been missed.

Methods: To derive gene expression prediction models, we used ancestry-stratified datasets from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA, including = 229 African American and = 381 Hispanic/Latino participants, monocytes) and the Depression Genes and Networks study (DGN, = 922 European ancestry participants, whole blood). We then performed a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) for platelet count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and white blood cell count in African ( = 27,955) and Hispanic/Latino ( = 28,324) ancestry participants.

Results: Our results revealed 24 suggestive signals ( < 1 × 10) that were conditionally distinct from known GWAS identified variants and successfully replicated these signals in European ancestry subjects from UK Biobank. We found modestly improved correlation of predicted and measured gene expression in an independent African American cohort (the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study ( = 802), lymphoblastoid cell lines) using the larger DGN reference panel; however, some genes were well predicted using MESA but not DGN.

Conclusions: These analyses demonstrate the importance of performing TWAS and other genetic analyses across diverse populations and of balancing sample size and ancestry background matching when selecting a TWAS reference panel.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes12071049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8307403PMC
July 2021

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption May Modify Associations Between Genetic Variants in the CHREBP (Carbohydrate Responsive Element Binding Protein) Locus and HDL-C (High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol) and Triglyceride Concentrations.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2021 Aug 16;14(4):e003288. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Department of Clinical Epidemiology (R.L.G., D.O.M.-K., F.R.R., R.dM.), Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands.

Background: ChREBP (carbohydrate responsive element binding protein) is a transcription factor that responds to sugar consumption. Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and genetic variants in the locus have separately been linked to HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and triglyceride concentrations. We hypothesized that SSB consumption would modify the association between genetic variants in the locus and dyslipidemia.

Methods: Data from 11 cohorts from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium (N=63 599) and the UK Biobank (N=59 220) were used to quantify associations of SSB consumption, genetic variants, and their interaction on HDL-C and triglyceride concentrations using linear regression models. A total of 1606 single nucleotide polymorphisms within or near were considered. SSB consumption was estimated from validated questionnaires, and participants were grouped by their estimated intake.

Results: In a meta-analysis, rs71556729 was significantly associated with higher HDL-C concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers (β, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.16-3.07] mg/dL per allele; <0.0001), but not significantly among the lowest SSB consumers (=0.81; <0.0001). Similar results were observed for 2 additional variants (rs35709627 and rs71556736). For triglyceride, rs55673514 was positively associated with triglyceride concentrations only among the highest SSB consumers (β, 0.06 [95% CI, 0.02-0.09] ln-mg/dL per allele, =0.001) but not the lowest SSB consumers (=0.84; =0.0005).

Conclusions: Our results identified genetic variants in the locus that may protect against SSB-associated reductions in HDL-C and other variants that may exacerbate SSB-associated increases in triglyceride concentrations. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT00005133, NCT00005121, NCT00005487, and NCT00000479.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.120.003288DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8373451PMC
August 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

Genetic Studies of Leptin Concentrations Implicate Leptin in the Regulation of Early Adiposity.

Diabetes 2020 12 11;69(12):2806-2818. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Leptin influences food intake by informing the brain about the status of body fat stores. Rare mutations associated with congenital leptin deficiency cause severe early-onset obesity that can be mitigated by administering leptin. However, the role of genetic regulation of leptin in polygenic obesity remains poorly understood. We performed an exome-based analysis in up to 57,232 individuals of diverse ancestries to identify genetic variants that influence adiposity-adjusted leptin concentrations. We identify five novel variants, including four missense variants, in , , , and , and one intergenic variant near The missense variant Val94Met (rs17151919) in was common in individuals of African ancestry only, and its association with lower leptin concentrations was specific to this ancestry ( = 2 × 10, = 3,901). Using in vitro analyses, we show that the Met94 allele decreases leptin secretion. We also show that the Met94 allele is associated with higher BMI in young African-ancestry children but not in adults, suggesting that leptin regulates early adiposity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db20-0070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7679778PMC
December 2020

Importance of Genetic Studies of Cardiometabolic Disease in Diverse Populations.

Circ Res 2020 06 4;126(12):1816-1840. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health (K.L.Y, H.M.H., C.A., S.-A.M.L., M.G., K.D., K.E.N.), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Genome-wide association studies have revolutionized our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of cardiometabolic disease. Yet, the inadequate representation of individuals of diverse ancestral backgrounds in these studies may undercut their ultimate potential for both public health and precision medicine. The goal of this review is to describe the imperativeness of studying the populations who are most affected by cardiometabolic disease, to the aim of better understanding the genetic underpinnings of the disease. We support this premise by describing the current variation in the global burden of cardiometabolic disease and emphasize the importance of building a globally and ancestrally representative genetics evidence base for the identification of population-specific variants, fine-mapping, and polygenic risk score estimation. We discuss the important ethical, legal, and social implications of increasing ancestral diversity in genetic studies of cardiometabolic disease and the challenges that arise from the (1) lack of diversity in current reference populations and available analytic samples and the (2) unequal generation of health-associated genomic data and their prediction accuracies. Despite these challenges, we conclude that additional, unprecedented opportunities lie ahead for public health genomics and the realization of precision medicine, provided that the gap in diversity can be systematically addressed. Achieving this goal will require concerted efforts by social, academic, professional and regulatory stakeholders and communities, and these efforts must be based on principles of equity and social justice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.315893DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7285892PMC
June 2020

Quality of dietary fat and genetic risk of type 2 diabetes: individual participant data meta-analysis.

BMJ 2019 07 25;366:l4292. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Objective: To investigate whether the genetic burden of type 2 diabetes modifies the association between the quality of dietary fat and the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Design: Individual participant data meta-analysis.

Data Sources: Eligible prospective cohort studies were systematically sourced from studies published between January 1970 and February 2017 through electronic searches in major medical databases (Medline, Embase, and Scopus) and discussion with investigators.

Review Methods: Data from cohort studies or multicohort consortia with available genome-wide genetic data and information about the quality of dietary fat and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in participants of European descent was sought. Prospective cohorts that had accrued five or more years of follow-up were included. The type 2 diabetes genetic risk profile was characterized by a 68-variant polygenic risk score weighted by published effect sizes. Diet was recorded by using validated cohort-specific dietary assessment tools. Outcome measures were summary adjusted hazard ratios of incident type 2 diabetes for polygenic risk score, isocaloric replacement of carbohydrate (refined starch and sugars) with types of fat, and the interaction of types of fat with polygenic risk score.

Results: Of 102 305 participants from 15 prospective cohort studies, 20 015 type 2 diabetes cases were documented after a median follow-up of 12 years (interquartile range 9.4-14.2). The hazard ratio of type 2 diabetes per increment of 10 risk alleles in the polygenic risk score was 1.64 (95% confidence interval 1.54 to 1.75, I=7.1%, τ=0.003). The increase of polyunsaturated fat and total omega 6 polyunsaturated fat intake in place of carbohydrate was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, with hazard ratios of 0.90 (0.82 to 0.98, I=18.0%, τ=0.006; per 5% of energy) and 0.99 (0.97 to 1.00, I=58.8%, τ=0.001; per increment of 1 g/d), respectively. Increasing monounsaturated fat in place of carbohydrate was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio 1.10, 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.19, I=25.9%, τ=0.006; per 5% of energy). Evidence of small study effects was detected for the overall association of polyunsaturated fat with the risk of type 2 diabetes, but not for the omega 6 polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat associations. Significant interactions between dietary fat and polygenic risk score on the risk of type 2 diabetes (P>0.05 for interaction) were not observed.

Conclusions: These data indicate that genetic burden and the quality of dietary fat are each associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes. The findings do not support tailoring recommendations on the quality of dietary fat to individual type 2 diabetes genetic risk profiles for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes, and suggest that dietary fat is associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes across the spectrum of type 2 diabetes genetic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6652797PMC
July 2019

Genetic analyses of diverse populations improves discovery for complex traits.

Nature 2019 06 19;570(7762):514-518. Epub 2019 Jun 19.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have laid the foundation for investigations into the biology of complex traits, drug development and clinical guidelines. However, the majority of discovery efforts are based on data from populations of European ancestry. In light of the differential genetic architecture that is known to exist between populations, bias in representation can exacerbate existing disease and healthcare disparities. Critical variants may be missed if they have a low frequency or are completely absent in European populations, especially as the field shifts its attention towards rare variants, which are more likely to be population-specific. Additionally, effect sizes and their derived risk prediction scores derived in one population may not accurately extrapolate to other populations. Here we demonstrate the value of diverse, multi-ethnic participants in large-scale genomic studies. The Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study conducted a GWAS of 26 clinical and behavioural phenotypes in 49,839 non-European individuals. Using strategies tailored for analysis of multi-ethnic and admixed populations, we describe a framework for analysing diverse populations, identify 27 novel loci and 38 secondary signals at known loci, as well as replicate 1,444 GWAS catalogue associations across these traits. Our data show evidence of effect-size heterogeneity across ancestries for published GWAS associations, substantial benefits for fine-mapping using diverse cohorts and insights into clinical implications. In the United States-where minority populations have a disproportionately higher burden of chronic conditions-the lack of representation of diverse populations in genetic research will result in inequitable access to precision medicine for those with the highest burden of disease. We strongly advocate for continued, large genome-wide efforts in diverse populations to maximize genetic discovery and reduce health disparities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1310-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6785182PMC
June 2019

Open Chromatin Profiling in Adipose Tissue Marks Genomic Regions with Functional Roles in Cardiometabolic Traits.

G3 (Bethesda) 2019 08 8;9(8):2521-2533. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Department of Genetics,

Identifying the regulatory mechanisms of genome-wide association study (GWAS) loci affecting adipose tissue has been restricted due to limited characterization of adipose transcriptional regulatory elements. We profiled chromatin accessibility in three frozen human subcutaneous adipose tissue needle biopsies and preadipocytes and adipocytes from the Simpson Golabi-Behmel Syndrome (SGBS) cell strain using an assay for transposase-accessible chromatin (ATAC-seq). We identified 68,571 representative accessible chromatin regions (peaks) across adipose tissue samples (FDR < 5%). GWAS loci for eight cardiometabolic traits were enriched in these peaks ( < 0.005), with the strongest enrichment for waist-hip ratio. Of 110 recently described cardiometabolic GWAS loci colocalized with adipose tissue eQTLs, 59 loci had one or more variants overlapping an adipose tissue peak. Annotated variants at the waist-hip ratio locus and the body mass index locus showed allelic differences in regulatory assays. These adipose tissue accessible chromatin regions elucidate genetic variants that may alter adipose tissue function to impact cardiometabolic traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/g3.119.400294DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6686932PMC
August 2019

Exome-Derived Adiponectin-Associated Variants Implicate Obesity and Lipid Biology.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 07 6;105(1):15-28. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, LABioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.

Circulating levels of adiponectin, an adipocyte-secreted protein associated with cardiovascular and metabolic risk, are highly heritable. To gain insights into the biology that regulates adiponectin levels, we performed an exome array meta-analysis of 265,780 genetic variants in 67,739 individuals of European, Hispanic, African American, and East Asian ancestry. We identified 20 loci associated with adiponectin, including 11 that had been reported previously (p < 2 × 10). Comparison of exome array variants to regional linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns and prior genome-wide association study (GWAS) results detected candidate variants (r > .60) spanning as much as 900 kb. To identify potential genes and mechanisms through which the previously unreported association signals act to affect adiponectin levels, we assessed cross-trait associations, expression quantitative trait loci in subcutaneous adipose, and biological pathways of nearby genes. Eight of the nine loci were also associated (p < 1 × 10) with at least one obesity or lipid trait. Candidate genes include PRKAR2A, PTH1R, and HDAC9, which have been suggested to play roles in adipocyte differentiation or bone marrow adipose tissue. Taken together, these findings provide further insights into the processes that influence circulating adiponectin levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6612516PMC
July 2019

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

Genetics of Obesity in Diverse Populations.

Curr Diab Rep 2018 11 19;18(12):145. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 123 West Franklin Street, Suite 410, CB# 8050, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516, USA.

Purpose Of Review: The prevalence of obesity continues to rise, fueling a global public health crisis characterized by dramatic increases in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many cancers. In the USA, several minority populations, who bear much of the obesity burden (47% in African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos, compared to 38% in European descent groups), are particularly at risk of downstream chronic disease. Compounding these disparities, most genome-wide association studies (GWAS)-including those of obesity-have largely been conducted in populations of European or East Asian ancestry. In fact, analysis of the GWAS Catalog found that while the proportion of participants of non-European or non-Asian descent had risen from 4% in 2009 to 19% in 2016, African-ancestry participants are still just 3% of GWAS, Hispanic/Latinos are < 0.5%, and other ancestries are < 0.3% or not represented at all. This review summarizes recent developments in obesity genomics in US minority populations, with the goal of reducing obesity health disparities and improving public health programs and access to precision medicine.

Recent Findings: GWAS of populations with the highest burden of obesity are essential to narrow candidate variants for functional follow-up, to identify additional ancestry-specific variants that contribute to individual genetic susceptibility, and to advance both public health and precision medicine approaches to obesity. Given the global public health burden posed by obesity and downstream chronic conditions which disproportionately affect non-European populations, GWAS of obesity-related traits in diverse populations is essential to (1) locate causal variants in GWAS-identified regions through fine mapping, (2) identify variants which influence obesity across ancestries through generalization, and (3) discover novel ancestry-specific variants which may be low frequency in European populations but common in other groups. Recent efforts to expand obesity genomic studies to understudied and underserved populations, including AAAGC, PAGE, and HISLA, are working to reduce obesity health disparities, improve public health, and bring the promise of precision medicine to all.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11892-018-1107-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380516PMC
November 2018

Complex patterns of direct and indirect association between the transcription Factor-7 like 2 gene, body mass index and type 2 diabetes diagnosis in adulthood in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.

BMC Obes 2018 2;5:26. Epub 2018 Oct 2.

1Department of Epidemiology, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 123 W Franklin St, Building C, Chapel Hill, NC USA.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have implicated the () gene in type 2 diabetes risk, and more recently, in decreased body mass index. Given the contrary direction of genetic effects on these two traits, it has been suggested that the observed association with body mass index may reflect either selection bias or a complex underlying biology at .

Methods: Using 9031 Hispanic/Latino adults (21-76 years) with complete weight history and genetic data from the community-based Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL, Baseline 2008-2011), we estimated the multivariable association between the additive number of type 2 diabetes increasing-alleles at (rs7903146-T) and body mass index. We then used structural equation models to simultaneously model the genetic association on changes in body mass index across the life course and estimate the odds of type 2 diabetes per risk allele.

Results: We observed both significant increases in type 2 diabetes prevalence at examination (independent of body mass index) and decreases in mean body mass index and waist circumference across genotypes at rs7903146. We observed a significant multivariable association between the additive number of type 2 diabetes-risk alleles and lower body mass index at examination. In our structured modeling, we observed non-significant inverse direct associations between rs7903146-T and body mass index at ages 21 and 45 years, and a significant positive association between rs7903146-T and type 2 diabetes onset in both middle and late adulthood.

Conclusions: Herein, we replicated the protective effect of rs7930146-T on body mass index at multiple time points in the life course, and observed that these effects were not explained by past type 2 diabetes status in our structured modeling. The robust replication of the negative effects of on body mass index in multiple samples, including in our diverse Hispanic/Latino community-based sample, supports a growing body of literature on the complex biologic mechanism underlying the functional consequences of on obesity and type 2 diabetes across the life course.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40608-018-0200-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6167893PMC
October 2018

Characterization of the contribution of shared environmental and genetic factors to metabolic syndrome methylation heritability and familial correlations.

BMC Genet 2018 09 17;19(Suppl 1):69. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 137 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC, 27514, USA.

Background: Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance has been posited as a possible contributor to the observed heritability of metabolic syndrome (MetS). Yet the extent to which estimates of epigenetic inheritance for DNA methylation sites are inflated by environmental and genetic covariance within families is still unclear. We applied current methods to quantify the environmental and genetic contributors to the observed heritability and familial correlations of four previously associated MetS methylation sites at three genes (CPT1A, SOCS3 and ABCG1) using real data made available through the GAW20.

Results: Our findings support the role of both shared environment and genetic variation in explaining the heritability of MetS and the four MetS cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) sites, although the resulting heritability estimates were indistinguishable from one another. Familial correlations by type of relative pair generally followed our expectation based on relatedness, but in the case of sister and parent pairs we observed nonsignificant trends toward greater correlation than expected, as would be consistent with the role of shared environmental factors in the inflation of our estimated correlations.

Conclusions: Our work provides an interesting and flexible statistical framework for testing models of epigenetic inheritance in the context of human family studies. Future work should endeavor to replicate our findings and advance these methods to more robustly describe epigenetic inheritance patterns in human populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12863-018-0634-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6157030PMC
September 2018

A survey of microRNA single nucleotide polymorphisms identifies novel breast cancer susceptibility loci in a case-control, population-based study of African-American women.

Breast Cancer Res 2018 06 5;20(1):45. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA.

Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression and influence cancer. Primary transcripts of miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) are poorly annotated and little is known about the role of germline variation in miRNA genes and breast cancer (BC). We sought to identify germline miRNA variants associated with BC risk and tumor subtype among African-American (AA) women.

Methods: Under the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium, genotyping and imputed data from four studies on BC in AA women were combined into a final dataset containing 224,188 miRNA gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for 8350 women: 3663 cases and 4687 controls. The primary miRNA sequence was identified for 566 miRNA genes expressed in Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Tier 1 cell types and human pancreatic islets. Association analysis was conducted using logistic regression for BC status overall and by tumor subtype.

Results: A novel BC signal was localized to an 8.6-kb region of 17q25.3 by four SNPs (rs9913477, rs1428882938, rs28585511, and rs7502931) and remained statistically significant after multiple test correction (odds ratio (OR) = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.26-1.65; p = 3.15 × 10; false discovery rate (FDR) = 0.03). These SNPs reside in a genomic location that includes both the predicted primary transcript of the noncoding miRNA gene MIR3065 and the first intron of the gene for brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor 1-associated protein 2 (BAIAP2). Furthermore, miRNA-associated SNPs on chromosomes 1p32.3, 5q32, and 3p25.1 were the strongest signals for hormone receptor, luminal versus basal-like, and HER2 enrichment status, respectively. A second phase of genotyping (1397 BC cases, 2418 controls) that included two SNPs in the 8.6-kb region was used for validation and meta-analysis. While neither rs4969239 nor rs9913477 was validated, when meta-analyzed with the original dataset their association with BC remained directionally consistent (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.16-1.44 (p = 4.18 × 10) and OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.17-1.51 (p = 1.6 × 10), respectively).

Conclusion: Germline genetic variation indicates that MIR3065 may play an important role in BC development and heterogeneity among AA women. Further investigation to determine the potential functional effects of these SNPs is warranted. This study contributes to our understanding of BC risk in AA women and highlights the complexity in evaluating variation in gene-dense regions of the human genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-018-0964-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5989404PMC
June 2018

Publisher Correction: Protein-altering variants associated with body mass index implicate pathways that control energy intake and expenditure in obesity.

Nat Genet 2018 05;50(5):766-767

Department of Genetic Epidemiology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

In the version of this article originally published, one of the two authors with the name Wei Zhao was omitted from the author list and the affiliations for both authors were assigned to the single Wei Zhao in the author list. In addition, the ORCID for Wei Zhao (Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA) was incorrectly assigned to author Wei Zhou. The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0082-3DOI Listing
May 2018

Protein-altering variants associated with body mass index implicate pathways that control energy intake and expenditure in obesity.

Nat Genet 2018 01 22;50(1):26-41. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

Department of Genetic Epidemiology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified >250 loci for body mass index (BMI), implicating pathways related to neuronal biology. Most GWAS loci represent clusters of common, noncoding variants from which pinpointing causal genes remains challenging. Here we combined data from 718,734 individuals to discover rare and low-frequency (minor allele frequency (MAF) < 5%) coding variants associated with BMI. We identified 14 coding variants in 13 genes, of which 8 variants were in genes (ZBTB7B, ACHE, RAPGEF3, RAB21, ZFHX3, ENTPD6, ZFR2 and ZNF169) newly implicated in human obesity, 2 variants were in genes (MC4R and KSR2) previously observed to be mutated in extreme obesity and 2 variants were in GIPR. The effect sizes of rare variants are ~10 times larger than those of common variants, with the largest effect observed in carriers of an MC4R mutation introducing a stop codon (p.Tyr35Ter, MAF = 0.01%), who weighed ~7 kg more than non-carriers. Pathway analyses based on the variants associated with BMI confirm enrichment of neuronal genes and provide new evidence for adipocyte and energy expenditure biology, widening the potential of genetically supported therapeutic targets in obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-017-0011-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5945951PMC
January 2018

Sugar-sweetened beverage intake associations with fasting glucose and insulin concentrations are not modified by selected genetic variants in a ChREBP-FGF21 pathway: a meta-analysis.

Diabetologia 2018 02 2;61(2):317-330. Epub 2017 Nov 2.

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Aims/hypothesis: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are a major dietary contributor to fructose intake. A molecular pathway involving the carbohydrate responsive element-binding protein (ChREBP) and the metabolic hormone fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) may influence sugar metabolism and, thereby, contribute to fructose-induced metabolic disease. We hypothesise that common variants in 11 genes involved in fructose metabolism and the ChREBP-FGF21 pathway may interact with SSB intake to exacerbate positive associations between higher SSB intake and glycaemic traits.

Methods: Data from 11 cohorts (six discovery and five replication) in the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) Consortium provided association and interaction results from 34,748 adults of European descent. SSB intake (soft drinks, fruit punches, lemonades or other fruit drinks) was derived from food-frequency questionnaires and food diaries. In fixed-effects meta-analyses, we quantified: (1) the associations between SSBs and glycaemic traits (fasting glucose and fasting insulin); and (2) the interactions between SSBs and 18 independent SNPs related to the ChREBP-FGF21 pathway.

Results: In our combined meta-analyses of discovery and replication cohorts, after adjustment for age, sex, energy intake, BMI and other dietary covariates, each additional serving of SSB intake was associated with higher fasting glucose (β ± SE 0.014 ± 0.004 [mmol/l], p = 1.5 × 10) and higher fasting insulin (0.030 ± 0.005 [log pmol/l], p = 2.0 × 10). No significant interactions on glycaemic traits were observed between SSB intake and selected SNPs. While a suggestive interaction was observed in the discovery cohorts with a SNP (rs1542423) in the β-Klotho (KLB) locus on fasting insulin (0.030 ± 0.011 log pmol/l, uncorrected p = 0.006), results in the replication cohorts and combined meta-analyses were non-significant.

Conclusions/interpretation: In this large meta-analysis, we observed that SSB intake was associated with higher fasting glucose and insulin. Although a suggestive interaction with a genetic variant in the ChREBP-FGF21 pathway was observed in the discovery cohorts, this observation was not confirmed in the replication analysis.

Trial Registration: Trials related to this study were registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00005131 (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities), NCT00005133 (Cardiovascular Health Study), NCT00005121 (Framingham Offspring Study), NCT00005487 (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) and NCT00005152 (Nurses' Health Study).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00125-017-4475-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5826559PMC
February 2018

Genome-Wide Interactions with Dairy Intake for Body Mass Index in Adults of European Descent.

Mol Nutr Food Res 2018 02 11;62(3). Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere University School of Medicine, Tampere, Finland.

Scope: Body weight responds variably to the intake of dairy foods. Genetic variation may contribute to inter-individual variability in associations between body weight and dairy consumption.

Methods And Results: A genome-wide interaction study to discover genetic variants that account for variation in BMI in the context of low-fat, high-fat and total dairy intake in cross-sectional analysis was conducted. Data from nine discovery studies (up to 25 513 European descent individuals) were meta-analyzed. Twenty-six genetic variants reached the selected significance threshold (p-interaction <10 , and six independent variants (LINC01512-rs7751666, PALM2/AKAP2-rs914359, ACTA2-rs1388, PPP1R12A-rs7961195, LINC00333-rs9635058, AC098847.1-rs1791355) were evaluated meta-analytically for replication of interaction in up to 17 675 individuals. Variant rs9635058 (128 kb 3' of LINC00333) was replicated (p-interaction = 0.004). In the discovery cohorts, rs9635058 interacted with dairy (p-interaction = 7.36 × 10 such that each serving of low-fat dairy was associated with 0.225 kg m lower BMI per each additional copy of the effect allele (A). A second genetic variant (ACTA2-rs1388) approached interaction replication significance for low-fat dairy exposure.

Conclusion: Body weight responses to dairy intake may be modified by genotype, in that greater dairy intake may protect a genetic subgroup from higher body weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201700347DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803424PMC
February 2018

Genetic identification of a common collagen disease in puerto ricans via identity-by-descent mapping in a health system.

Elife 2017 09 12;6. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

The Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, United States.

Achieving confidence in the causality of a disease locus is a complex task that often requires supporting data from both statistical genetics and clinical genomics. Here we describe a combined approach to identify and characterize a genetic disorder that leverages distantly related patients in a health system and population-scale mapping. We utilize genomic data to uncover components of distant pedigrees, in the absence of recorded pedigree information, in the multi-ethnic Bio biobank in New York City. By linking to medical records, we discover a locus associated with both elevated genetic relatedness and extreme short stature. We link the gene, , with a little-known genetic disease, previously thought to be rare and recessive. We demonstrate that disease manifests in both heterozygotes and homozygotes, indicating a common collagen disorder impacting up to 2% of individuals of Puerto Rican ancestry, leading to a better understanding of the continuum of complex and Mendelian disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.25060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5595434PMC
September 2017

Genome-wide physical activity interactions in adiposity - A meta-analysis of 200,452 adults.

PLoS Genet 2017 Apr 27;13(4):e1006528. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

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

Physical activity (PA) may modify the genetic effects that give rise to increased risk of obesity. To identify adiposity loci whose effects are modified by PA, we performed genome-wide interaction meta-analyses of BMI and BMI-adjusted waist circumference and waist-hip ratio from up to 200,452 adults of European (n = 180,423) or other ancestry (n = 20,029). We standardized PA by categorizing it into a dichotomous variable where, on average, 23% of participants were categorized as inactive and 77% as physically active. While we replicate the interaction with PA for the strongest known obesity-risk locus in the FTO gene, of which the effect is attenuated by ~30% in physically active individuals compared to inactive individuals, we do not identify additional loci that are sensitive to PA. In additional genome-wide meta-analyses adjusting for PA and interaction with PA, we identify 11 novel adiposity loci, suggesting that accounting for PA or other environmental factors that contribute to variation in adiposity may facilitate gene discovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407576PMC
April 2017

Rare and low-frequency coding variants alter human adult height.

Nature 2017 02 1;542(7640):186-190. Epub 2017 Feb 1.

Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation, Utrecht, 3501 DB, The Netherlands.

Height is a highly heritable, classic polygenic trait with approximately 700 common associated variants identified through genome-wide association studies so far. Here, we report 83 height-associated coding variants with lower minor-allele frequencies (in the range of 0.1-4.8%) and effects of up to 2 centimetres per allele (such as those in IHH, STC2, AR and CRISPLD2), greater than ten times the average effect of common variants. In functional follow-up studies, rare height-increasing alleles of STC2 (giving an increase of 1-2 centimetres per allele) compromised proteolytic inhibition of PAPP-A and increased cleavage of IGFBP-4 in vitro, resulting in higher bioavailability of insulin-like growth factors. These 83 height-associated variants overlap genes that are mutated in monogenic growth disorders and highlight new biological candidates (such as ADAMTS3, IL11RA and NOX4) and pathways (such as proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan synthesis) involved in growth. Our results demonstrate that sufficiently large sample sizes can uncover rare and low-frequency variants of moderate-to-large effect associated with polygenic human phenotypes, and that these variants implicate relevant genes and pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5302847PMC
February 2017

Genome-wide association of trajectories of systolic blood pressure change.

BMC Proc 2016 18;10(Suppl 7):321-327. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

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

Background: There is great interindividual variation in systolic blood pressure (SBP) as a result of the influences of several factors, including sex, ancestry, smoking status, medication use, and, especially, age. The majority of genetic studies have examined SBP measured cross-sectionally; however, SBP changes over time, and not necessarily in a linear fashion. Therefore, this study conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) study of SBP change trajectories using data available through the Genetic Analysis Workshop 19 (GAW19) of 959 individuals from 20 extended Mexican American families from the San Antonio Family Studies with up to 4 measures of SBP. We performed structural equation modeling (SEM) while taking into account potential genetic effects to identify how, if at all, to include covariates in estimating the SBP change trajectories using a mixture model based latent class growth modeling (LCGM) approach for use in the GWA analyses.

Results: The semiparametric LCGM approach identified 5 trajectory classes that captured SBP changes across age. Each LCGM identified trajectory group was ranked based on the average number of cumulative years as hypertensive. Using a pairwise comparison of these classes the heritability estimates range from 12 to 94 % (SE = 17 to 40 %).

Conclusion: These identified trajectories are significantly heritable, and we identified a total of 8 promising loci that influence one's trajectory in SBP change across age. Our results demonstrate the potential utility of capitalizing on extant genetic data and longitudinal SBP assessments available through GAW19 to explore novel analytical methods with promising results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12919-016-0050-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133524PMC
October 2016

Evidence for Association between SH2B1 Gene Variants and Glycated Hemoglobin in Nondiabetic European American Young Adults: The Add Health Study.

Ann Hum Genet 2016 09;80(5):294-305

Carolina Population Center, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) is used to classify glycaemia and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Body mass index (BMI) is a predictor of HbA1c levels and T2D. We tested 43 established BMI and obesity loci for association with HbA1c in a nationally representative multiethnic sample of young adults from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health [Add Health: age 24-34 years; n = 5641 European Americans (EA); 1740 African Americans (AA); 1444 Hispanic Americans (HA)] without T2D, using two levels of covariate adjustment (Model 1: age, sex, smoking, and geographic region; Model 2: Model 1 covariates plus BMI). Bonferroni adjustment was made for 43 SNPs and we considered P < 0.0011 statistically significant. Means (SD) for HbA1c were 5.4% (0.3) in EA, 5.7% (0.4) in AA, and 5.5% (0.3) in HA. We observed significant evidence for association with HbA1c for two variants near SH2B1 in EA (rs4788102, P = 2.2 × 10(-4) ; rs7359397, P = 9.8 × 10(-4) ) for Model 1. Both results were attenuated after adjustment for BMI (rs4788102, P = 1.7 × 10(-3) ; rs7359397, P = 4.6 × 10(-3) ). No variant reached Bonferroni-corrected significance in AA or HA. These results suggest that SH2B1 polymorphisms are associated with HbA1c, largely independent of BMI, in EA young adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ahg.12165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5453181PMC
September 2016

Genetic Diversity and Association Studies in US Hispanic/Latino Populations: Applications in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 Jan;98(1):165-84

Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, NHLBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

US Hispanic/Latino individuals are diverse in genetic ancestry, culture, and environmental exposures. Here, we characterized and controlled for this diversity in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). We simultaneously estimated population-structure principal components (PCs) robust to familial relatedness and pairwise kinship coefficients (KCs) robust to population structure, admixture, and Hardy-Weinberg departures. The PCs revealed substantial genetic differentiation within and among six self-identified background groups (Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Central and South American). To control for variation among groups, we developed a multi-dimensional clustering method to define a "genetic-analysis group" variable that retains many properties of self-identified background while achieving substantially greater genetic homogeneity within groups and including participants with non-specific self-identification. In GWASs of 22 biomedical traits, we used a linear mixed model (LMM) including pairwise empirical KCs to account for familial relatedness, PCs for ancestry, and genetic-analysis groups for additional group-associated effects. Including the genetic-analysis group as a covariate accounted for significant trait variation in 8 of 22 traits, even after we fit 20 PCs. Additionally, genetic-analysis groups had significant heterogeneity of residual variance for 20 of 22 traits, and modeling this heteroscedasticity within the LMM reduced genomic inflation for 19 traits. Furthermore, fitting an LMM that utilized a genetic-analysis group rather than a self-identified background group achieved higher power to detect previously reported associations. We expect that the methods applied here will be useful in other studies with multiple ethnic groups, admixture, and relatedness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716704PMC
January 2016

Interaction of smoking and obesity susceptibility loci on adolescent BMI: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.

BMC Genet 2015 Nov 4;16:131. Epub 2015 Nov 4.

Carolina Population Center, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Background: Adolescence is a sensitive period for weight gain and risky health behaviors, such as smoking. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified loci contributing to adult body mass index (BMI). Evidence suggests that many of these loci have a larger influence on adolescent BMI. However, few studies have examined interactions between smoking and obesity susceptibility loci on BMI. This study investigates the interaction of current smoking and established BMI SNPs on adolescent BMI. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally-representative, prospective cohort of the US school-based population in grades 7 to 12 (12-20 years of age) in 1994-95 who have been followed into adulthood (Wave II 1996; ages 12-21, Wave III; ages 18-27), we assessed (in 2014) interactions of 40 BMI-related SNPs and smoking status with percent of the CDC/NCHS 2000 median BMI (%MBMI) in European Americans (n = 5075), African Americans (n = 1744) and Hispanic Americans (n = 1294).

Results: Two SNPs showed nominal significance for interaction (p < 0.05) between smoking and genotype with %MBMI in European Americans (EA) (rs2112347 (POC5): β = 1.98 (0.06, 3.90), p = 0.04 and near rs571312 (MC4R): β 2.15 (-0.03, 4.33) p = 0.05); and one SNP showed a significant interaction effect after stringent correction for multiple testing in Hispanic Americans (HA) (rs1514175 (TNNI3K): β 8.46 (4.32, 12.60), p = 5.9E-05). Stratifying by sex, these interactions suggest a stronger effect in female smokers.

Conclusions: Our study highlights potentially important sex differences in obesity risk by smoking status in adolescents, with those who may be most likely to initiate smoking (i.e., adolescent females), being at greatest risk for exacerbating genetic obesity susceptibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12863-015-0289-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634717PMC
November 2015

Sequence variation in TMEM18 in association with body mass index: Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium Targeted Sequencing Study.

Circ Cardiovasc Genet 2014 Jun;7(3):344-9

Background: Genome-wide association studies for body mass index (BMI) previously identified a locus near TMEM18. We conducted targeted sequencing of this region to investigate the role of common, low-frequency, and rare variants influencing BMI.

Methods And Results: We sequenced TMEM18 and regions downstream of TMEM18 on chromosome 2 in 3976 individuals of European ancestry from 3 community-based cohorts (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, Cardiovascular Health Study, and Framingham Heart Study), including 200 adults selected for high BMI. We examined the association between BMI and variants identified in the region from nucleotide position 586 432 to 677 539 (hg18). Rare variants (minor allele frequency, <1%) were analyzed using a burden test and the sequence kernel association test. Results from the 3 cohort studies were meta-analyzed. We estimate that mean BMI is 0.43 kg/m(2) higher for each copy of the G allele of single-nucleotide polymorphism rs7596758 (minor allele frequency, 29%; P=3.46×10(-4)) using a Bonferroni threshold of P<4.6×10(-4). Analyses conditional on previous genome-wide association study single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with BMI in the region led to attenuation of this signal and uncovered another independent (r(2)<0.2), statistically significant association, rs186019316 (P=2.11×10(-4)). Both rs186019316 and rs7596758 or proxies are located in transcription factor binding regions. No significant association with rare variants was found in either the exons of TMEM18 or the 3' genome-wide association study region.

Conclusions: Targeted sequencing around TMEM18 identified 2 novel BMI variants with possible regulatory function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.13.000067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4135723PMC
June 2014
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