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Genetic and environmental influences on height from infancy to early adulthood: An individual-based pooled analysis of 45 twin cohorts

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Aline Jelenkovic, Reijo Sund, Yoon-mi Hur, Yoshie Yokoyama, Jacob V. B. Hjelmborg, Sören Möller, Chika Honda, Patrik K. E. Magnusson, Nancy L. Pedersen, Syuichi Ooki, Sari Aaltonen, Maria A. Stazi, Corrado Fagnani, Cristina D’ippolito, Duarte L. Freitas, José Antonio Maia, Fuling Ji, Feng Ning, Zengchang Pang, Esther Rebato & 83 more Andreas Busjahn, Christian Kandler, Kimberly J. Saudino, Kerry L. Jang, Wendy Cozen, Amie E. Hwang, Thomas M. Mack, Wenjing Gao, Canqing Yu, Liming Li, Robin P. Corley, Brooke M. Huibregtse, Catherine A. Derom, Robert F. Vlietinck, Ruth J. F. Loos, Kauko Heikkilä, Jane Wardle, Clare H. Llewellyn, Abigail Fisher, Tom A. McAdams, Thalia C. Eley, Alice M. Gregory, Mingguang He, Xiaohu Ding, Morten Bjerregaard-andersen, Henning Beck-nielsen, Morten Sodemann, Adam D. Tarnoki, David L. Tarnoki, Ariel Knafo-noam, David Mankuta, Lior Abramson, S. Alexandra Burt, Kelly L. Klump, Judy L. Silberg, Lindon J. Eaves, Hermine H. Maes, Robert F. Krueger, Matt Mcgue, Shandell Pahlen, Margaret Gatz, David A. Butler, Meike Bartels, Toos C. E. M. Van Beijsterveldt, Jeffrey M. Craig, Richard Saffery, Lise Dubois, Michel Boivin, Mara Brendgen, Ginette Dionne, Frank Vitaro, Nicholas G. Martin, Sarah E. Medland, Grant W. Montgomery, Gary E. Swan, Ruth Krasnow, Per Tynelius, Paul Lichtenstein, Claire M. A. Haworth, Robert Plomin, Gombojav Bayasgalan, Danshiitsoodol Narandalai, K. Paige Harden, Elliot M. Tucker-drob, Timothy Spector, Massimo Mangino, Genevieve Lachance, Laura A. Baker, Catherine Tuvblad, Glen E. Duncan, Dedra Buchwald, Gonneke Willemsen, Axel Skytthe, Kirsten O. Kyvik, Kaare Christensen, Sevgi Y. Öncel, Fazil Aliev, Finn Rasmussen, Jack H. Goldberg, Thorkild I. A. Sørensen, Dorret I. Boomsma, Jaakko Kaprio, Karri Silventoinen

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28496
JournalScientific Reports
Accepted/In press2 Jun 2016
Published23 Jun 2016


King's Authors


Height variation is known to be determined by both genetic and environmental factors, but a systematic description of how their influences differ by sex, age and global regions is lacking. We conducted an individual-based pooled analysis of 45 twin cohorts from 20 countries, including 180,520 paired measurements at ages 1–19 years. The proportion of height variation explained by shared environmental factors was greatest in early childhood, but these effects remained present until early adulthood. Accordingly, the relative genetic contribution increased with age and was greatest in adolescence (up to 0.83 in boys and 0.76 in girls). Comparing geographic-cultural regions (Europe, North-America and Australia, and East-Asia), genetic variance was greatest in North-America and Australia and lowest in East-Asia, but the relative proportion of genetic variation was roughly similar across these regions. Our findings provide further insights into height variation during childhood and adolescence in populations representing different ethnicities and exposed to different environments.

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