Population genetic differentiation of height and body mass index across Europe.


Across-nation differences in the mean values for complex traits are common, but the reasons for these differences are unknown. Here we find that many independent loci contribute to population genetic differences in height and body mass index (BMI) in 9,416 individuals across 14 European countries. Using discovery data on over 250,000 individuals and unbiased effect size estimates from 17,500 sibling pairs, we estimate that 24% (95% credible interval (CI) = 9%, 41%) and 8% (95% CI = 4%, 16%) of the captured additive genetic variance for height and BMI, respectively, reflect population genetic differences. Population genetic divergence differed significantly from that in a null model (height, P < 3.94 × 10(-8); BMI, P < 5.95 × 10(-4)), and we find an among-population genetic correlation for tall and slender individuals (r = -0.80, 95% CI = -0.95, -0.60), consistent with correlated selection for both phenotypes. Observed differences in height among populations reflected the predicted genetic means (r = 0.51; P < 0.001), but environmental differences across Europe masked genetic differentiation for BMI (P < 0.58).

DOI: 10.1038/ng.3401

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@article{Robinson2015PopulationGD, title={Population genetic differentiation of height and body mass index across Europe.}, author={Matthew R Robinson and Gibran Hemani and Carolina Medina-Gomez and Massimo Mezzavilla and T{\~o}nu Esko and Konstantin Shakhbazov and Joseph E. Powell and Anna A. E. Vinkhuyzen and Sonja I. Berndt and Stefan Gustafsson and Anne E Justice and Bratati Kahali and Adam E Locke and Tune H. Pers and Sailaja L Vedantam and Andrew R Wood and Wouter van Rheenen and Ole A. Andreassen and Paolo Gasparini and Andres Metspalu and Leonard H. van den Berg and Jan Herman Veldink and Fernando Rivadeneira and Thomas M Werge and Gonçalo R. Abecasis and Dorret I. Boomsma and Daniel Chasman and Eco J de Geus and Timothy M. Frayling and Joel Hirschhorn and Jouke Jan Hottenga and Erik Ingelsson and Ruth Loos and Patrik K. E. Magnusson and Nicholas G. Martin and Grant W. Montgomery and Kari E. North and Nancy L Pedersen and Tim D. Spector and Elizabeth K. Speliotes and M. E. Goddard and Jian Yang and Peter M. Visscher}, journal={Nature genetics}, year={2015}, volume={47 11}, pages={1357-62} }