Longevity Briefs: ‘Landmark’ Study Resolves the Genetic Mystery of Human Height

Posted on 11 November 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Height has always thought to have been a characteristic that has been heavily determined by the genetic makeup of an individual. However, the exact genes to determine height have remained a mystery.

What did the researchers do: In the largest ever study of its kind, researchers gathered genomic data on 4.1 million individuals, spanning 5 major ancestors, to determine the genetic framework of what makes us tall, short or somewhere in the middle.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: This landmark study identified ~10,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms, these are single base alterations within the genome, that play a key role in determining height in the individual. The results showed that 40%-50% of height is determined by the genome, not as much as previously thought.

99% of these single nucleotide polymorphisms were located within about 30% of the genetic sequence, making it much easier to get a handle of these genes and determine how they interact with each other.

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