A genome-wide association study on 4,921 individuals by Harvard University and collaborators has led to the discovery of the first gene that influences a person’s height. The group discovered two variants of the HMGA2 gene, ‘tall’ and ‘short’. Individuals who inherit two copies of the ‘tall’ variant are up to 1 cm taller than those who inherit the ‘short’ variant.
According to Prof. Joel Hirschhorn, an expert in genetics at Harvard, “Because height is a complex trait, involving a variety of genetic and non-genetic factors, it can teach us valuable lessons about the genetic framework of other complex traits, such as diabetes, cancer and other common human diseases.”
Interestingly the two variants of the HMGA2 gene have four and five exons respectively. Therefore, it can be hypothesised that the extra exon is involved in causing the difference in height.
|News source: Medical News Today|