FRIDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Height is determined not by a
single "short" or "tall" gene but by many genes working in concert,
says an international team of scientists that has identified
hundreds of height-influencing genes.
"While we haven't explained all of the heritability of height with this study, we have confidence that these genes play a role in height and now can begin to learn about the pathways in which these genes play a role," study co-author Dr. Karen L. Mohlke, an associate professor of genetics in the University of North Carolina's school of medicine, explained in a news release.
Mohlke and her colleagues present their research, which was
funded by the National Institutes of Health, in the Sept. 29 issue
A team composed of scientists from dozens of countries analyzed
genetic data concerning about 200,000 men and women drawn from 46
The authors identified 180 different gene regions that appear to
"These common gene variants could explain as much as sixteen percent of the variation in height," study co-author Kari North, an associate professor of epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, said in the same release.
Down the road, the ongoing effort will look for more genetic
roots for height variation, including rare mutations that might
have an influence.
"This work is giving the field important insights into skeletal growth, height and growth defects," said Mohlke. "And it is also showing us how similar approaches can be taken to look for genes underlying other common traits and diseases relevant to body size, like type 2 diabetes."
For more on genetics, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.