Twin Research and Human Genetics

Articles

A Commentary on ‘Common SNPs Explain a Large Proportion of the Heritability for Human Height’ by Yang et al. (2010)

Peter M. Visschera1 c1, Jian Yanga2 and Michael E. Goddarda3

a1 Queensland Statistical Genetics Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia. Peter.visscher@qimr.edu.au

a2 Queensland Statistical Genetics Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.

a3 Department of Food and Agricultural Systems, University of Melbourne, Australia; Biosciences Research Division, Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Melbourne Australia.

Abstract

Recently a paper authored by ourselves and a number of co-authors about the proportion of phenotypic variation in height that is explained by common SNPs was published in Nature Genetics (Yang et al., 2010). Common SNPs explain a large proportion of the heritability for human height (Yang et al.). During the refereeing process (the paper was rejected by two other journals before publication in Nature Genetics) and following the publication of Yang et al. (2010) it became clear to us that the methodology we applied, the interpretation of the results and the consequences of the findings on the genetic architecture of human height and that for other traits such as complex disease are not well understood or appreciated. Here we explain some of these issues in a style that is different from the primary publication, that is, in the form of a number of comments and questions and answers. We also report a number of additional results that show that the estimates of additive genetic variation are not driven by population structure.

(Received August 31 2010)

(Accepted September 15 2010)

Keywords

  • GWAS;
  • heritability;
  • height;
  • linkage disequilibrium

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Peter Visscher, Queensland Statistical Genetics Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, 300 Herston Road, Brisbane, Queensland 4006, Australia.

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