Publications by authors named "Mariaelisa Graff"

81 Publications

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

Multi-ethnic genome-wide association analyses of white blood cell and platelet traits in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.

BMC Genomics 2021 Jun 9;22(1):432. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

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

Background: Circulating white blood cell and platelet traits are clinically linked to various disease outcomes and differ across individuals and ancestry groups. Genetic factors play an important role in determining these traits and many loci have been identified. However, most of these findings were identified in populations of European ancestry (EA), with African Americans (AA), Hispanics/Latinos (HL), and other races/ethnicities being severely underrepresented.

Results: We performed ancestry-combined and ancestry-specific genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for white blood cell and platelet traits in the ancestrally diverse Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study, including 16,201 AA, 21,347 HL, and 27,236 EA participants. We identified six novel findings at suggestive significance (P < 5E-8), which need confirmation, and independent signals at six previously established regions at genome-wide significance (P < 2E-9). We confirmed multiple previously reported genome-wide significant variants in the single variant association analysis and multiple genes using PrediXcan. Evaluation of loci reported from a Euro-centric GWAS indicated attenuation of effect estimates in AA and HL compared to EA populations.

Conclusions: Our results highlighted the potential to identify ancestry-specific and ancestry-agnostic variants in participants with diverse backgrounds and advocate for continued efforts in improving inclusion of racially/ethnically diverse populations in genetic association studies for complex traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-021-07745-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191001PMC
June 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 variants and physical activity interact to affect bone density in Hispanic children.

BMC Pediatr 2021 02 15;21(1):79. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Nutrition and Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 500 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC, 28081, USA.

Background: Our aim was to investigate if moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), calcium intake interacts with bone mineral density (BMD)-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to influence BMD in 750 Hispanic children (4-19y) of the cross-sectional Viva La Familia Study.

Methods: Physical activity and dietary intake were measured by accelerometers and multiple-pass 24 h dietary recalls, respectively. Total body and lumbar spine BMD were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. A polygenic risk score (PRS) was computed based on SNPs identified in published literature. Regression analysis was conducted with PRSs, MVPA and calcium intake with total body and lumbar spine BMD.

Results: We found evidence of statistically significant interaction effects between the PRS and MVPA on total body BMD and lumbar spine BMD (p < 0.05). Higher PRS was associated with a lower total body BMD (β = - 0.040 ± 0.009, p = 1.1 × 10) and lumbar spine BMD (β = - 0.042 ± 0.013, p = 0.0016) in low MVPA group, as compared to high MVPA group (β = - 0.015 ± 0.006, p = 0.02; β = 0.008 ± 0.01, p = 0.4, respectively).

Discussion: The study indicated that calcium intake does not modify the relationship between genetic variants and BMD, while it implied physical activity interacts with genetic variants to affect BMD in Hispanic children. Due to limited sample size of our study, future research on gene by environment interaction on bone health and functional studies to provide biological insights are needed.

Conclusions: Bone health in Hispanic children with high genetic risk for low BMD is benefitted more by MVPA than children with low genetic risk. Our results may be useful to predict disease risk and tailor dietary and physical activity advice delivery to people, especially children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-021-02537-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7883422PMC
February 2021

Genome-wide association study identifying novel variant for fasting insulin and allelic heterogeneity in known glycemic loci in Chilean adolescents: The Santiago Longitudinal Study.

Pediatr Obes 2021 Jul 30;16(7):e12765. Epub 2020 Dec 30.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Background: The genetic underpinnings of glycemic traits have been understudied in adolescent and Hispanic/Latino (H/L) populations in comparison to adults and populations of European ancestry.

Objective: To identify genetic factors underlying glycemic traits in an adolescent H/L population.

Methods: We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fasting glucose (FG) and fasting insulin (FI) in H/L adolescents from the Santiago Longitudinal Study.

Results: We identified one novel variant positioned in the CSMD1 gene on chromosome 8 (rs77465890, effect allele frequency = 0.10) that was associated with FI (β = -0.299, SE = 0.054, p = 2.72×10 ) and was only slightly attenuated after adjusting for body mass index z-scores (β = -0.252, SE = 0.047, p = 1.03×10 ). We demonstrated directionally consistent, but not statistically significant results in African and Hispanic adults of the Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology Consortium. We also identified secondary signals for two FG loci after conditioning on known variants, which demonstrate allelic heterogeneity in well-known glucose loci.

Conclusion: Our results exemplify the importance of including populations with diverse ancestral origin and adolescent participants in GWAS of glycemic traits to uncover novel risk loci and expand our understanding of disease aetiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12765DOI Listing
July 2021

Genetic variants in anti-Müllerian hormone-related genes and breast cancer risk: results from the AMBER consortium.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Jan 22;185(2):469-478. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2104F McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7435, USA.

Purpose: Circulating anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels are positively associated with time to menopause and breast cancer risk. We examined breast cancer associations with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the AMH gene or its receptor genes, ACVR1 and AMHR2, among African American women.

Methods: In the AMBER consortium, we tested 65 candidate SNPs, and 1130 total variants, in or near AMH, ACVR1, and AMHR2 and breast cancer risk. Overall, 3649 cases and 4230 controls contributed to analyses. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for breast cancer were calculated using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: After correction for multiple comparisons (false-discovery rate of 5%), there were no statistically significant associations with breast cancer risk. Without correction for multiple testing, four candidate SNPs in ACVR1 and one near AMH were associated with breast cancer risk. In ACVR1, rs13395576[C] was associated with lower breast cancer risk overall (OR 0.84; 95% CI 0.72, 0.97) and for ER+ disease (OR 0.75; CI 0.62, 0.89) (p < 0.05). Rs1220110[A] and rs1220134[T] each had ORs of 0.89-0.90 for postmenopausal and ER+ breast cancer (p ≤ 0.03). Conversely, rs1682130[T] was associated with higher risk of ER+ breast cancer (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.04, 1.32). Near AMH, rs6510652[T] had ORs of 0.85-0.90 for breast cancer overall and after menopause (p ≤ 0.02).

Conclusions: The present results, from a large study of African American women, provide limited support for an association between AMH-related polymorphisms and breast cancer risk and require replication in other studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05944-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867570PMC
January 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

Validation in a Brazilian population of gene markers of periodontitis previously investigated by GWAS and bioinformatic studies.

J Periodontol 2021 05 2;92(5):689-703. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Department of Morphology, Genetics, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry at Araraquara, São Paulo State University - UNESP, Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil.

Background: Bioinformatic tools and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to comprehensive identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with periodontitis in diverse populations. Here we aimed to detect and validate the association of seven SNPs as genetic markers of susceptibility to periodontitis in a Brazilian population.

Methods: This case-control study assessed complete periodontal parameters of 714 subjects with periodontal status classified as healthy/mild periodontitis (n = 356) and moderate/severe periodontitis (n = 358). Genotyping for rs187238, rs352140, rs1360573, rs2521634, rs3811046, rs3826782, and rs7762544 SNPs were evaluated. Genetic-phenotype associations, and sex or smoking effects of SNPs on periodontitis were tested using multiple logistic regressions adjusted for covariates.

Results: The rs2521634-AA (close to NPY gene) presented increased risk for severe periodontitis (OR = 2.34; 95% CI = 1.19-4.59). The rs3811046-GG (IL37 gene) demonstrated increased risk for moderate periodontitis (OR = 2.58; 95% CI = 1.28-5.18). Higher risk for moderate periodontitis was found in male with rs7762544-AG close to NCR2 gene. The rs352140-TT in the TLR9 gene proved to be associated with lower risk to severe periodontitis in men. The rs2521634-AA was associated with higher percentage of interproximal probing pocket depth (P = .004).

Conclusions: This is the first evidence of validation in a Brazilian population of genetic markers of periodontitis previously investigated by GWAS and bioinformatics studies. SNPs in the NPY, IL37, and NCR2 genes were associated with susceptibility to moderate or severe periodontitis; whereas the TLR9 marker was associated with lower chance to develop severe periodontitis. Those SNPs had sex- and smoking-habit-specific effects on periodontitis; reinforcing the genetic profile predisposing to periodontitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/JPER.20-0126DOI Listing
May 2021

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

Mendelian randomization analysis does not support causal associations of birth weight with hypertension risk and blood pressure in adulthood.

Eur J Epidemiol 2020 Jul 7;35(7):685-697. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Skåne University Hospital Malmö, Lund University, 21741, Malmö, Sweden.

Epidemiology studies suggested that low birthweight was associated with a higher risk of hypertension in later life. However, little is known about the causality of such associations. In our study, we evaluated the causal association of low birthweight with adulthood hypertension following a standard analytic protocol using the study-level data of 183,433 participants from 60 studies (CHARGE-BIG consortium), as well as that with blood pressure using publicly available summary-level genome-wide association data from EGG consortium of 153,781 participants, ICBP consortium and UK Biobank cohort together of 757,601 participants. We used seven SNPs as the instrumental variable in the study-level analysis and 47 SNPs in the summary-level analysis. In the study-level analyses, decreased birthweight was associated with a higher risk of hypertension in adults (the odds ratio per 1 standard deviation (SD) lower birthweight, 1.22; 95% CI 1.16 to 1.28), while no association was found between genetically instrumented birthweight and hypertension risk (instrumental odds ratio for causal effect per 1 SD lower birthweight, 0.97; 95% CI 0.68 to 1.41). Such results were consistent with that from the summary-level analyses, where the genetically determined low birthweight was not associated with blood pressure measurements either. One SD lower genetically determined birthweight was not associated with systolic blood pressure (β = - 0.76, 95% CI - 2.45 to 1.08 mmHg), 0.06 mmHg lower diastolic blood pressure (β = - 0.06, 95% CI - 0.93 to 0.87 mmHg), or pulse pressure (β = - 0.65, 95% CI - 1.38 to 0.69 mmHg, all p > 0.05). Our findings suggest that the inverse association of birthweight with hypertension risk from observational studies was not supported by large Mendelian randomization analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10654-020-00638-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867117PMC
July 2020

Minority-centric meta-analyses of blood lipid levels identify novel loci in the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.

PLoS Genet 2020 03 30;16(3):e1008684. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Department of Medicine, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Lipid levels are important markers for the development of cardio-metabolic diseases. Although hundreds of associated loci have been identified through genetic association studies, the contribution of genetic factors to variation in lipids is not fully understood, particularly in U.S. minority groups. We performed genome-wide association analyses for four lipid traits in over 45,000 ancestrally diverse participants from the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Study, followed by a meta-analysis with several European ancestry studies. We identified nine novel lipid loci, five of which showed evidence of replication in independent studies. Furthermore, we discovered one novel gene in a PrediXcan analysis, minority-specific independent signals at eight previously reported loci, and potential functional variants at two known loci through fine-mapping. Systematic examination of known lipid loci revealed smaller effect estimates in African American and Hispanic ancestry populations than those in Europeans, and better performance of polygenic risk scores based on minority-specific effect estimates. Our findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of lipid traits and highlight the importance of conducting genetic studies in diverse populations in the era of precision medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145272PMC
March 2020

Nine-Year Ethanol Intake Trajectories and Their Association With 15-Year Cognitive Decline Among Black and White Adults.

Am J Epidemiol 2020 08;189(8):788-800

Faster rates of age-related cognitive decline might result in early onset of cognitive impairment and dementia. The relationship between ethanol intake and cognitive decline, although studied extensively, remains poorly understood. Previous studies used single measurements of ethanol, and few were conducted in diverse populations. We assessed the association of 9-year trajectories of ethanol intake (1987-1998) with 15-year rate of decline in cognitive performance from mid- to late life (1996-2013) among 2,169 Black and 8,707 White participants of the US Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study using multivariable linear regression models. We hypothesized that stable, low to moderate drinking would be associated with lesser 15-year cognitive decline, and stable, heavy drinking with greater 15-year cognitive decline. Stable, low to moderate drinking (for Blacks, adjusted mean difference (MD) = 0.03 (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.13, 0.19); for Whites, adjusted MD = 0.02 (95% CI: -0.05, 0.08)) and stable, heavy drinking (for Blacks, adjusted MD = 0.08 (95% CI: -0.34, 0.50); for Whites, adjusted MD = -0.03 (95% CI: -0.18, 0.11)) in midlife compared with stable never-drinking were not associated with 15-year decline in general cognitive function from mid- to late life. No association was observed for the stable former and "mostly" drinking trajectories with 15-year cognitive decline. Stable low, low to moderate, and stable heavy drinking in midlife are not associated with lesser and greater cognitive decline, respectively, from mid- to late life among Black and White adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7407608PMC
August 2020

Genetic correlations of psychiatric traits with body composition and glycemic traits are sex- and age-dependent.

Nat Commun 2019 12 18;10(1):5765. Epub 2019 Dec 18.

Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, SE5 8AF, UK.

Body composition is often altered in psychiatric disorders. Using genome-wide common genetic variation data, we calculate sex-specific genetic correlations amongst body fat %, fat mass, fat-free mass, physical activity, glycemic traits and 17 psychiatric traits (up to N = 217,568). Two patterns emerge: (1) anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and education years are negatively genetically correlated with body fat % and fat-free mass, whereas (2) attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol dependence, insomnia, and heavy smoking are positively correlated. Anorexia nervosa shows a stronger genetic correlation with body fat % in females, whereas education years is more strongly correlated with fat mass in males. Education years and ADHD show genetic overlap with childhood obesity. Mendelian randomization identifies schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, and higher education as causal for decreased fat mass, with higher body fat % possibly being a causal risk factor for ADHD and heavy smoking. These results suggest new possibilities for targeted preventive strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13544-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920448PMC
December 2019

Genetic variants affecting bone mineral density and bone mineral content at multiple skeletal sites in Hispanic children.

Bone 2020 03 29;132:115175. Epub 2019 Nov 29.

Department of Nutrition and Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC, USA. Electronic address:

Context: Osteoporosis is a major public health burden with significant economic costs. However, the correlates of bone health in Hispanic children are understudied.

Objective: We aimed to identify genetic variants associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) at multiple skeletal sites in Hispanic children.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional genome-wide linkage analysis, genome-wide and exome-wide association analysis of BMD and BMC. The Viva La Familia Study is a family-based cohort with a total of 1030 Hispanic children (4-19 years old at baseline) conducted in Houston, TX. BMD and BMC were measured by Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Significant heritability were observed for BMC and BMD at multiple skeletal sites ranging between 44 and 68% (P < 2.8 × 10). Significant evidence for linkage was found for BMD of pelvis and left leg on chromosome 7p14, lumbar spine on 20q13 and left rib on 6p21, and BMC of pelvis on chromosome 20q12 and total body on 14q22-23 (logarithm of odds score > 3). We found genome-wide significant association between BMC of right arm and rs762920 at PVALB (P = 4.6 × 10), and between pelvis BMD and rs7000615 at PTK2B (P = 7.4 × 10). Exome-wide association analysis revealed novel association of variants at MEGF10 and ABRAXAS2 with left arm and lumber spine BMC, respectively (P < 9 × 10).

Conclusions: We identified novel loci associated with BMC and BMD in Hispanic children, with strongest evidence for PTK2B. These findings provide better understanding of bone genetics and shed light on biological mechanisms underlying BMD and BMC variation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2019.115175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120871PMC
March 2020

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes.

Nat Commun 2019 10 31;10(1):4957. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Neurology, Brain Centre Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CX, The Netherlands.

In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding coefficients (F) for >1.4 million individuals, we show that F is significantly associated (p < 0.0005) with apparently deleterious changes in 32 out of 100 traits analysed. These changes are associated with runs of homozygosity (ROH), but not with common variant homozygosity, suggesting that genetic variants associated with inbreeding depression are predominantly rare. The effect on fertility is striking: F equivalent to the offspring of first cousins is associated with a 55% decrease [95% CI 44-66%] in the odds of having children. Finally, the effects of F are confirmed within full-sibling pairs, where the variation in F is independent of all environmental confounding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12283-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823371PMC
October 2019

Association of Birth Weight With Type 2 Diabetes and Glycemic Traits: A Mendelian Randomization Study.

JAMA Netw Open 2019 09 4;2(9):e1910915. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.

Importance: Observational studies have shown associations of birth weight with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and glycemic traits, but it remains unclear whether these associations represent causal associations.

Objective: To test the association of birth weight with T2D and glycemic traits using a mendelian randomization analysis.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This mendelian randomization study used a genetic risk score for birth weight that was constructed with 7 genome-wide significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms. The associations of this score with birth weight and T2D were tested in a mendelian randomization analysis using study-level data. The association of birth weight with T2D was tested using both study-level data (7 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were used as an instrumental variable) and summary-level data from the consortia (43 single-nucleotide polymorphisms were used as an instrumental variable). Data from 180 056 participants from 49 studies were included.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Type 2 diabetes and glycemic traits.

Results: This mendelian randomization analysis included 49 studies with 41 155 patients with T2D and 80 008 control participants from study-level data and 34 840 patients with T2D and 114 981 control participants from summary-level data. Study-level data showed that a 1-SD decrease in birth weight due to the genetic risk score was associated with higher risk of T2D among all participants (odds ratio [OR], 2.10; 95% CI, 1.69-2.61; P = 4.03 × 10-5), among European participants (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.42-2.71; P = .04), and among East Asian participants (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.18-1.62; P = .04). Similar results were observed from summary-level analyses. In addition, each 1-SD lower birth weight was associated with 0.189 SD higher fasting glucose concentration (β = 0.189; SE = 0.060; P = .002), but not with fasting insulin, 2-hour glucose, or hemoglobin A1c concentration.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, a genetic predisposition to lower birth weight was associated with increased risk of T2D and higher fasting glucose concentration, suggesting genetic effects on retarded fetal growth and increased diabetes risk that either are independent of each other or operate through alterations of integrated biological mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6755534PMC
September 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

Genetics of Chronic Kidney Disease Stages Across Ancestries: The PAGE Study.

Front Genet 2019 24;10:494. Epub 2019 May 24.

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

Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common and disproportionally burdens United States ethnic minorities. Its genetic determinants may differ by disease severity and clinical stages. To uncover genetic factors associated CKD severity among high-risk ethnic groups, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in diverse populations within the Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) study.

Methods: We assembled multi-ethnic genome-wide imputed data on CKD non-overlapping cases [4,150 mild to moderate CKD, 1,105 end-stage kidney disease (ESKD)] and non-CKD controls for up to 41,041 PAGE participants (African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, East Asian, Native Hawaiian, and American Indians). We implemented a generalized estimating equation approach for GWAS using ancestry combined data while adjusting for age, sex, principal components, study, and ethnicity.

Results: The GWAS identified a novel genome-wide associated locus for mild to moderate CKD nearby (rs10906850, = 3.7 × 10) that replicated in the United Kingdom Biobank white British ( = 0.008). Several variants at the locus were associated with ESKD including the G1 rs73885319 ( = 1.2 × 10). There was no overlap among associated loci for CKD and ESKD traits, even at the previously reported locus ( = 0.76 for CKD). Several additional loci were associated with CKD or ESKD at -values below the genome-wide threshold. These loci were often driven by variants more common in non-European ancestry.

Conclusion: Our genetic study identified a novel association at for CKD and showed for the first time strong associations of the variants with ESKD across multi-ethnic populations. Our findings suggest differences in genetic effects across CKD severity and provide information for study design of genetic studies of CKD in diverse populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2019.00494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6544117PMC
May 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

Association of dietary folate and vitamin B-12 intake with genome-wide DNA methylation in blood: a large-scale epigenome-wide association analysis in 5841 individuals.

Am J Clin Nutr 2019 08;110(2):437-450

Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: Folate and vitamin B-12 are essential micronutrients involved in the donation of methyl groups in cellular metabolism. However, associations between intake of these nutrients and genome-wide DNA methylation levels have not been studied comprehensively in humans.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess whether folate and/or vitamin B-12 intake are asssociated with genome-wide changes in DNA methylation in leukocytes.

Methods: A large-scale epigenome-wide association study of folate and vitamin B-12 intake was performed on DNA from 5841 participants from 10 cohorts using Illumina 450k arrays. Folate and vitamin B-12 intakes were calculated from food-frequency questionnaires (FFQs). Continuous and categorical (low compared with high intake) linear regression mixed models were applied per cohort, controlling for confounders. A meta-analysis was performed to identify significant differentially methylated positions (DMPs) and regions (DMRs), and a pathway analysis was performed on the DMR annotated genes.

Results: The categorical model resulted in 6 DMPs, which are all negatively associated with folate intake, annotated to FAM64A, WRAP73, FRMD8, CUX1, and LCN8 genes, which have a role in cellular processes including centrosome localization, cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis. Regional analysis showed 74 folate-associated DMRs, of which 73 were negatively associated with folate intake. The most significant folate-associated DMR was a 400-base pair (bp) spanning region annotated to the LGALS3BP gene. In the categorical model, vitamin B-12 intake was associated with 29 DMRs annotated to 48 genes, of which the most significant was a 1100-bp spanning region annotated to the calcium-binding tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated gene (CABYR). Vitamin B-12 intake was not associated with DMPs.

Conclusions: We identified novel epigenetic loci that are associated with folate and vitamin B-12 intake. Interestingly, we found a negative association between folate and DNA methylation. Replication of these methylation loci is necessary in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669135PMC
August 2019

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of 387,272 individuals identifies new loci associated with serum lipids.

Nat Genet 2019 04 29;51(4):636-648. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The concentrations of high- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by smoking, but it is unknown whether genetic associations with lipids may be modified by smoking. We conducted a multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study in 133,805 individuals with follow-up in an additional 253,467 individuals. Combined meta-analyses identified 13 new loci associated with lipids, some of which were detected only because association differed by smoking status. Additionally, we demonstrate the importance of including diverse populations, particularly in studies of interactions with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences by ancestry may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467258PMC
April 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

Multiancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 06;188(6):1033-1054

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

A person's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multiancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from 5 ancestry groups. Analyses covered the period July 2014-November 2017. Genetic main effects and interaction effects were jointly assessed by means of a 2-degrees-of-freedom (df) test, and a 1-df test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in stage 1 and were evaluated in stage 2, followed by combined analyses of stage 1 and stage 2. In the combined analysis of stages 1 and 2, a total of 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2-df tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide-significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5), vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB), and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1) complementation factor (A1CF)) that have a putative role in lipid metabolism on the basis of existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545280PMC
June 2019

Multi-ancestry study of blood lipid levels identifies four loci interacting with physical activity.

Nat Commun 2019 01 22;10(1):376. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, 01246903, SP, Brazil.

Many genetic loci affect circulating lipid levels, but it remains unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, modify these genetic effects. To identify lipid loci interacting with physical activity, we performed genome-wide analyses of circulating HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in up to 120,979 individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Brazilian ancestry, with follow-up of suggestive associations in an additional 131,012 individuals. We find four loci, in/near CLASP1, LHX1, SNTA1, and CNTNAP2, that are associated with circulating lipid levels through interaction with physical activity; higher levels of physical activity enhance the HDL cholesterol-increasing effects of the CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 loci and attenuate the LDL cholesterol-increasing effect of the CNTNAP2 locus. The CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 regions harbor genes linked to muscle function and lipid metabolism. Our results elucidate the role of physical activity interactions in the genetic contribution to blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08008-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342931PMC
January 2019

Associations of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Mitochondrial Variants and Genes with Seven Metabolic Traits.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 27;104(1):112-138. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, and Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Mitochondria (MT), the major site of cellular energy production, are under dual genetic control by 37 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes and numerous nuclear genes (MT-nDNA). In the CHARGEmtDNA+ Consortium, we studied genetic associations of mtDNA and MT-nDNA associations with body mass index (BMI), waist-hip-ratio (WHR), glucose, insulin, HOMA-B, HOMA-IR, and HbA1c. This 45-cohort collaboration comprised 70,775 (insulin) to 170,202 (BMI) pan-ancestry individuals. Validation and imputation of mtDNA variants was followed by single-variant and gene-based association testing. We report two significant common variants, one in MT-ATP6 associated (p ≤ 5E-04) with WHR and one in the D-loop with glucose. Five rare variants in MT-ATP6, MT-ND5, and MT-ND6 associated with BMI, WHR, or insulin. Gene-based meta-analysis identified MT-ND3 associated with BMI (p ≤ 1E-03). We considered 2,282 MT-nDNA candidate gene associations compiled from online summary results for our traits (20 unique studies with 31 dataset consortia's genome-wide associations [GWASs]). Of these, 109 genes associated (p ≤ 1E-06) with at least 1 of our 7 traits. We assessed regulatory features of variants in the 109 genes, cis- and trans-gene expression regulation, and performed enrichment and protein-protein interactions analyses. Of the identified mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes, 79 associated with adipose measures, 49 with glucose/insulin, 13 with risk for type 2 diabetes, and 18 with cardiovascular disease, indicating for pleiotropic effects with health implications. Additionally, 21 genes related to cholesterol, suggesting additional important roles for the genes identified. Our results suggest that mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes and variants reported make important contributions to glucose and insulin metabolism, adipocyte regulation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323610PMC
January 2019

Genomics of body fat percentage may contribute to sex bias in anorexia nervosa.

Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2019 09 28;180(6):428-438. Epub 2018 Dec 28.

Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Anorexia nervosa (AN) occurs nine times more often in females than in males. Although environmental factors likely play a role, the reasons for this imbalanced sex ratio remain unresolved. AN displays high genetic correlations with anthropometric and metabolic traits. Given sex differences in body composition, we investigated the possible metabolic underpinnings of female propensity for AN. We conducted sex-specific GWAS in a healthy and medication-free subsample of the UK Biobank (n = 155,961), identifying 77 genome-wide significant loci associated with body fat percentage (BF%) and 174 with fat-free mass (FFM). Partitioned heritability analysis showed an enrichment for central nervous tissue-associated genes for BF%, which was more prominent in females than males. Genetic correlations of BF% and FFM with the largest GWAS of AN by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium were estimated to explore shared genomics. The genetic correlations of BF% and BF% with AN differed significantly from each other (p < .0001, δ = -0.17), suggesting that the female preponderance in AN may, in part, be explained by sex-specific anthropometric and metabolic genetic factors increasing liability to AN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6751355PMC
September 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
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