Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genes for nine health indicators: Population study finds genetics clues

08.12.2008
A new genome-wide study examines genetic variants associated with nine metabolic traits and is the first to draw out novel variants from a population unselected for current disease. The traits are indicators for common disease such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, inflammation and lipid levels.

Cohorts are followed throughout their lives, gathering lifelong information about their health: these data will help researchers to dissect the complex causes of common disease, whether genetic or environmental. The current study might indicate genetic variants that influence early development of disease, informing public health measures.

Unlike case-control studies, which make genomic comparisons of apparently healthy people with patients with a specific condition, cohort studies provide long-term information across a population.

"The power of studies such as ours lies in their ability to examine these traits for early life events, to reflect the genetic make-up of the wider population and to investigate the relationship between genetic variation and environment over time," says Professor Leena Peltonen, Head of Human Genetics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and a senior author of the paper. "Our study indicates that the environment accounts for around 30% or less of the consequences of the traits. Clearly we have to increase our efforts to understand the genetic factors involved."

The population study looked at a cohort of people born in northern Finland in 1966: the environmental exposure and genetic background of this population is relatively homogeneous and, because the sample includes almost all people born in that year, it reflects the overall composition of the population.

The team looked at more than 360,000 genetic variants in almost 5000 people. These samples were typed to uncover variants associated with levels of triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein, as well as body mass index and blood pressure. Eight ‘environmental’ factors, including alcohol use, smoking and birth weight, were also included in the analysis.

"We found 23 regions of the genome associated with these traits," says Professor Nelson Freimer, University of California, Los Angeles, the other senior author. "We were delighted that our study identified 14 that had been described before: it is essential that a study such as this picks up the known variants.

"More important, we found nine novel variants: in five of these cases, our knowledge of the role of the gene suggests they are good candidates for important variants."

The research differs from prior investigations in power and study design, which might explain its ability to identify nine previously unknown loci. Five of these associations - HDL with NR1H3 (LXRA), LDL with AR and FADS1/FADS2, glucose with MTNR1B, and insulin with PANK1 - implicate genes with known or postulated roles in metabolism, and are good candidates for further study of the biological role they might play in these conditions.

The comprehensive cohort study also allowed the team adjust for the additional data such as environmental influences and body mass index. Three regions were associated with LDL or insulin when the population was divided into normal or elevated body mass index.

"Our population sample allows us to look at gene-environment interactions," explains Professor Chiara Sabatti, University of California, Los Angeles, a co-author of the paper, "but we need to examine larger populations in order to validate these. We are only starting to have a glimpse of how the power of modern genetics can work with population data to uncover genes that will be able to help clinical and public health work in the future. We still have many challenges ahead."

Although genetic influences are thought to account for at least half of the variation in each of the traits, the current results explain perhaps one-tenth of that. There remains much more to be discovered.

Work underway, such as The 1000 Genomes Project and wider population studies, will help to determine whether the additional genetic effects lie in many common variants with relatively small effect or in rare variants with a larger effect.

Don Powell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sanger.ac.uk
http://www.genetics.ucla.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>