Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others

Date:
April 23, 2014
Source:
University College London
Summary:
The influence of genetic factors on differences between children's Body Mass Index increases from 43 percent at age four to 82 percent at age 10, reports a new study. The researchers studied 2,556 pairs of twins from the Twins Early Development Study. Data were collected in England and Wales in 1999 and 2005 when the twins were four and 10 years old respectively.

The influence of genetic factors on differences between children's Body Mass Index (BMI) increases from 43% at age 4 to 82% at age 10, reports a new study by researchers at UCL and King's College London.

Related Articles


The research, published in the journal Obesity, combined twin and genomic analyses in 2556 pairs of twins from the Twins Early Development Study. Data were collected in England and Wales in 1999 and 2005 when the twins were 4 and 10 years old respectively. The study was supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) with additional funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

The twin analysis confirmed previous studies with a doubling of genetic influence, called 'heritability', showing that the reasons that some boys and girls are bigger than others are 43% genetic at age 4 and 82% genetic at age 10. One explanation for this may be that as children get older, they have increased independence to seek out environmental opportunities to express their genetic predispositions, a process 'termed gene-environment correlation'.

Since twin analyses don't involve direct measurement of genes, the researchers used genomic data in the same sample to compare with the twin findings. They first used Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis (GCTA) which estimates the combined effects of over 1.7 million common genetic variants across the whole genome, to demonstrate that the total effect of common genes increased by 50% between ages 4 and 10.

As GCTA doesn't identify the effect of specific genes, the researchers then created a genetic predisposition score from 28 genetic variants known to be associated with obesity risk, and replicated the rising association with BMI for this set of genes from ages 4 to 10. Together, these findings demonstrate beyond doubt that genetic influence on body weight increases over childhood.

"Our results demonstrate that genetic predisposition to obesity is increasingly expressed throughout childhood," says Dr Clare Llewellyn, UCL Epidemiology & Public Health, who co-led the study. "This underlines the importance of intervening at an early age to try to counteract these genetic effects and reduce childhood obesity."

"The fact that the twin-based estimates of increasing heritability of BMI were supported by genomic data provides strong support for the reliability of twin analyses," says Dr Maciej Trzaskowski of the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King's College London, who co-led the study. "Given the time and expense incurred collecting DNA in large studies, twins offer a convenient and affordable alternative to describing the genetic architecture of a range of health-related characteristics such as body weight."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C.H. Llewellyn, M. Trzaskowski, R. Plomin, J. Wardle. From modeling to measurement: Developmental trends in genetic influence on adiposity in childhood. Obesity, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/oby.20756

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221418.htm>.
University College London. (2014, April 23). Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221418.htm
University College London. "Genetics explain why some kids are bigger than others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140423221418.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins