Genes that make people tall or short identified

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 08:20 hrs

An international team of scientists have found that a seemingly simple inherited trait - height - springs from hundreds of genetic causes.

The study identified hundreds of gene variants in at least 180 locations that influence adult height, an observable trait. Robert Kaplan, professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, supplied the data for one of roughly 50 groups involved.

The scientists also identified common gene variants that influence height. These variants involve cases where a single base, such as cytosine or C, is swapped for another, such as guanine or G, in a strand of DNA.

Thanks to modern technology, more than 200 global institutions involved were able to combine their data and extract meaningful results, thereby proving the merits of the genome-wide association approach.

"One of the things we were trying to do here was to use height as a test case, as a proof of concept. We did show that these large studies do produce useful information," Nature quoted Kaplan as saying.

The group's findings are published in the September 29 online edition of Nature. (ANI)