Genome-wide-search for nevus density shows linkage to two melanoma loci on chromosome 9 and identifies a new QTL on 5q31 in an adult twin cohort.

Mario Falchi, Tim D Spector, Ursula Perks, Bernet S Kato, Veronique Bataille

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38 Citations (Scopus)


The density of acquired melanocytic nevi represents an important risk factor for malignant melanoma. Total body nevus counts were collected in a cross-sectional study of 1730 healthy females from the UK Adult twin registry comprising 709 dizygous and 156 monozygous pairs. Nevus density (ND) increased up to the age of 35 years and then gradually declined. Quantitative genetic analysis showed a smaller genetic influence (36%) on ND up to 35 years, compared with after 35 years where it rose to 59%. Using a sub-sample of 1238 genotyped individuals, we performed distinct genome-wide scans for individuals above and below 35 separately. In the younger sub-sample, we confirmed a quantitative trait locus (QTL) for ND on chromosomes 9p21 (LOD=2.54), a region already linked to both familial melanoma and ND. We also observed a linkage signal on 9q21 (LOD=2.55) overlapping a recently reported susceptibility locus for ocular and cutaneous melanoma in Danish families. The strongest evidence of linkage identified a novel QTL on chromosome 5q31-32 (LOD=3.47). None of these linkages was observed in the group aged 35 years and over, which showed suggestive linkage on chromosome 2p24 (LOD=2.75). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first genome-wide search for ND in a large sample of healthy adults. The results suggest that different sets of genes are likely to influence the processes leading to the appearance of nevi and their involution. They provide both novel and replicated QTLs for nevus development, some of which might overlap with those for melanoma and warrant detailed investigation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2975 - 2979
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2006


  • Adult
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 5
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genome, Human
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Melanoma
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevus
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Skin Neoplasms


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