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Testing the role of predicted gene knockouts in human anthropometric trait variation.

Hum. Mol. Genet. 25, 2082-2092 (2016)
Publishers Version Postprint Supplement DOI PMC
Open Access Green
as soon as is submitted to ZB.
Although the role of complete gene inactivation by two loss-of-function mutations inherited in trans is well-established in recessive Mendelian diseases, we have not yet explored how such gene knockouts (KOs) could influence complex human phenotypes. Here, we developed a statistical framework to test the association between gene KOs and quantitative human traits. Our method is flexible, publicly available, and compatible with common genotype format files (e.g. PLINK and vcf). We characterized gene KOs in 4,498 participants from the NHLBI Exome Sequence Project (ESP) sequenced at high coverage (>100X), 1,976 French Canadians from the Montreal Heart Institute Biobank sequenced at low coverage (5.7X), and >100,000 participants from the GIANT Consortium genotyped on an exome array. We tested associations between gene KOs and three anthropometric traits: body mass index (BMI), height and BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Despite our large sample size and multiple datasets available, we could not detect robust associations between specific gene KOs and quantitative anthropometric traits. Our results highlight several limitations and challenges for future gene KO studies in humans, in particular when there is no prior knowledge on the phenotypes that might be affected by the tested gene KOs. They also suggest that gene KOs identified with current DNA sequencing methodologies probably do not strongly influence normal variation in BMI, height, and WHR in the general human population.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Of-function Variants; Primary Hyperoxaluria; Receptor Gene; Association; Disease; Dysfunction; Disorders; Database; Growth; Exomes
Reviewing status