Deakin University
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Discovery genome-wide association study of body composition in 4,386 adults from the UK Biobank's Pilot Imaging Enhancement Study

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-01, 00:00 authored by Katherine LivingstoneKatherine Livingstone, Mun Hua Tan, Gavin AbbottGavin Abbott, Rachel L Duckham, Larry CroftLarry Croft, Joey Ward, Mark McEvoy, Michelle KeskeMichelle Keske, Chris AustinChris Austin, Steve BoweSteve Bowe
Body composition (fat, skeletal muscle and bone mass) is an important determinant of overall health and risk of endocrine disorders such as type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Although diet and physical activity are strongly implicated, body composition is also heritable. We conducted a discovery genome-wide association study on 31 phenotypes from the three-compartment body composition model (fat, lean and bone mass) in a set of 4 386 individuals (n = 2 109 males, n = 2 294 females) from the UK Biobank pilot imaging enhancement program that underwent a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan for assessment of body composition and genetic screening. From 6 137 607 imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) we identified 17 body composition loci (P<5.0 x 10-8). GWAS from the combined dataset identified four statistically significant SNPs (rs7592270, rs145972737, rs13212044, rs77772562). In sex-stratified GWAS, 10 male specific SNPs across all traits were identified and five female specific SNPs. Of the 17 SNPs, six were in or close to a gene where there was a plausible functional connection. Three SNPs (rs7592270, rs77772562 and rs7552312) were correlated with obesity phenotypes, one SNP (rs2236705) with lean phenotypes and two with bone mass phenotypes (rs112098641 and rs113380185). These results highlight candidate genes and biological pathways related to body composition, including glucose metabolism and estrogen regulation, that are of interest to replicate in future studies.



Frontiers in endocrinology



Article number



1 - 7


Frontiers Media


Lausanne, Switzerland







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal