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A thousand points of height

Study finds heaps of genetic variants influencing stature

3:32pm, September 29, 2010

Geneticists are getting to the long and short of the genes that control how tall a person will grow. The short answer is that at least 180 different common genetic variants are involved; the long, that more than 600 variants may control human height.

Scanning the genetic blueprints of more than 100,000 people, scientists have turned up at least 180 different genetic variants involved in determining human height, the researchers report online September 29 in Nature. That may sound impressive, but each of the genes involved has a small effect, and researchers are still able to account for only about 10 percent of the genetic contributions that give rise to the wide variation in height.

“It’s a lot more complicated than we originally thought, and there may be thousands of variants with subtle effects,” says Michael Weedon, a geneticist at Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry in Exeter, England. Weedon is one of 293 coauthors of the

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