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Genetics of human height

  • McEvoy, Brian P.
  • Visscher, Peter M.
Registered author(s):

    Height is correlated with risk to certain diseases and various socio-economic outcomes. As an easy to observe and measure trait, it has been a classic paradigm in the emergence of fundamental concepts regarding inheritance and genetics. Resemblances in height between relatives suggest that 80% of height variation is under genetic control with the rest controlled by environmental factors such as diet and disease exposure. Nearly a century ago it was recognised that many genes were likely to be involved but it is only with recent advances in technology that it has become possible to comprehensively search the human genome for DNA variants that control height. About 50 genes and regions of the genome have been associated with height to date. These begin to explain the biological basis of height, its links to disease and aid our understanding of the evolution of human height. The genes discovered so far have a very small individual effect and hundreds, maybe thousands, more of even smaller effects are still lost in the genome. Despite a successful start to height gene mapping, there remain considerable theoretical, technological, and statistical hurdles to be overcome in order to unravel its full genetic basis.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B73DX-4X7YNJG-1/2/0dfd4146e1660d7a667a50fdde48cad7
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 294-306

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:294-306
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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    1. Jaume Garcia Villar & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2006. "The evolution of adult height in Europe: A brief note," Economics Working Papers 1002, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2007.
    2. John Komlos & Marieluise Baur, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," CESifo Working Paper Series 1028, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Hiermeyer, Martin, 2009. "Height and BMI values of German conscripts in 2000, 2001 and 1906," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 366-375, December.
    4. Herpin, Nicolas, 2005. "Love, careers, and heights in France, 2001," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 420-449, December.
    5. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
    6. Batty, G. David & Shipley, Martin J. & Gunnell, David & Huxley, Rachel & Kivimaki, Mika & Woodward, Mark & Lee, Crystal Man Ying & Smith, George Davey, 2009. "Height, wealth, and health: An overview with new data from three longitudinal studies," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 137-152, July.
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