New insight on height, arthritis

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 14:02 in Biology & Nature

Terence Capellini, an associate professor of human evolutionary biology, is co-author of new research revealing a genetic “switch” that changes the activity of a key skeletal gene related to height, and pinpoints a variant in the switch that favors shortness and is far more prevalent among Eurasian populations than expected. The study, described in a July 3 paper in Nature Genetics, also points to a surprising link between the sequence that favors shortness and an increased risk of osteoarthritis. “There are a couple [of] aspects of this study that are interesting,” Capellini said. “One is that these genetic variants are occurring in noncoding sequences, so while genes are important, this shows that the genetic machinery around a gene can have a dramatic impact on how it works. But another interesting finding is that while evolution has increased the frequency of a variant that leads to decreased height, because of linked mutations, there...

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