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1.  Recessive mutations in a distal PTF1A enhancer cause isolated pancreatic agenesis 
Nature genetics  2013;46(1):61-64.
The contribution of cis-regulatory mutations to human disease remains poorly understood. Whole genome sequencing can identify all non-coding variants, yet discrimination of causal regulatory mutations represents a formidable challenge. We used epigenomic annotation in hESC-derived embryonic pancreatic progenitor cells to guide the interpretation of whole genome sequences from patients with isolated pancreatic agenesis. This uncovered six different recessive mutations in a previously uncharacterized ~400bp sequence located 25kb downstream of PTF1A (pancreas-specific transcription factor 1a) in ten families with pancreatic agenesis. We show that this region acts as a developmental enhancer of PTF1A and that the mutations abolish enhancer activity. These mutations are the most common cause of isolated pancreatic agenesis. Integrating genome sequencing and epigenomic annotation in a disease-relevant cell type can uncover novel non-coding elements underlying human development and disease.
doi:10.1038/ng.2826
PMCID: PMC4131753  PMID: 24212882
2.  Association of Adiposity Genetic Variants With Menarche Timing in 92,105 Women of European Descent 
Fernández-Rhodes, Lindsay | Demerath, Ellen W. | Cousminer, Diana L. | Tao, Ran | Dreyfus, Jill G. | Esko, Tõnu | Smith, Albert V. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore | McArdle, Patrick F. | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M. | Elks, Cathy E. | Strachan, David P. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Vollenweider, Peter | Feenstra, Bjarke | Boyd, Heather A. | Metspalu, Andres | Mihailov, Evelin | Broer, Linda | Zillikens, M. Carola | Oostra, Ben | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Perry, John R. B. | Murray, Anna | Koller, Daniel L. | Lai, Dongbing | Corre, Tanguy | Toniolo, Daniela | Albrecht, Eva | Stöckl, Doris | Grallert, Harald | Gieger, Christian | Hayward, Caroline | Polasek, Ozren | Rudan, Igor | Wilson, James F. | He, Chunyan | Kraft, Peter | Hu, Frank B. | Hunter, David J. | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Willemsen, Gonneke | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Byrne, Enda M. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Warrington, Nicole M. | Pennell, Craig E. | Stolk, Lisette | Visser, Jenny A. | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, André G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Lin, Peng | Fisher, Sherri L. | Bierut, Laura J. | Crisponi, Laura | Porcu, Eleonora | Mangino, Massimo | Zhai, Guangju | Spector, Tim D. | Buring, Julie E. | Rose, Lynda M. | Ridker, Paul M. | Poole, Charles | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Widen, Elisabeth | North, Kari E. | Ong, Ken K. | Franceschini, Nora
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;178(3):451-460.
Obesity is of global health concern. There are well-described inverse relationships between female pubertal timing and obesity. Recent genome-wide association studies of age at menarche identified several obesity-related variants. Using data from the ReproGen Consortium, we employed meta-analytical techniques to estimate the associations of 95 a priori and recently identified obesity-related (body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), waist circumference, and waist:hip ratio) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with age at menarche in 92,116 women of European descent from 38 studies (1970–2010), in order to estimate associations between genetic variants associated with central or overall adiposity and pubertal timing in girls. Investigators in each study performed a separate analysis of associations between the selected SNPs and age at menarche (ages 9–17 years) using linear regression models and adjusting for birth year, site (as appropriate), and population stratification. Heterogeneity of effect-measure estimates was investigated using meta-regression. Six novel associations of body mass index loci with age at menarche were identified, and 11 adiposity loci previously reported to be associated with age at menarche were confirmed, but none of the central adiposity variants individually showed significant associations. These findings suggest complex genetic relationships between menarche and overall obesity, and to a lesser extent central obesity, in normal processes of growth and development.
doi:10.1093/aje/kws473
PMCID: PMC3816344  PMID: 23558354
adiposity; body mass index; genetic association studies; menarche; obesity; waist circumference; waist:hip ratio; women's health
3.  The Coronary Artery Disease–Associated 9p21 Variant and Later Life 20-Year Survival to Cohort Extinction 
Background
Common variation at chromosome 9p21 (marked by rs10757278 or rs1333049) is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral vascular disease. A decreasing effect at older age was suggested, and effects on long-term mortality are unclear. We estimated 9p21 associations with CAD and all-cause mortality in a CAD diagnosis–free older population. We also estimated classification gains on adding the variant to the Framingham Risk Score (FRS) for CAD.
Methods and Results
DNA was from an Established Populations for Epidemiological Study of the Elderly–Iowa cohort from 1988 (participants >71 years), with death certificates obtained to 2008 for 92% of participants. Cox regression models were adjusted for confounders and CAD risk factors. Of 1095 CAD diagnosis–free participants, 52% were heterozygous (CG) and 22% were homozygous (CC) for the risk C allele rs1333049. Unadjusted CAD-attributed death rates in the CC group were 30 vs 22 per 1000 person-years for the GG group. The C allele was associated with all-cause (hazard ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.08–1.30) and CAD (hazard ratio, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.08–1.56) mortality, independent of CAD risk factors. There was no association with stroke deaths. Variant associations with CAD mortality were attenuated after the age of 80 years (age-interaction term P=0.05). In age group 71 to 80 years, FRS classified as high risk 21% of respondents who died of CAD within 10 years; adding 9p21 identified 27% of respondents.
Conclusions
In 71- to 80-year-old subjects free of CAD diagnoses, 9p21 is associated with excess mortality, mainly attributed to CAD mortality. Adding 9p21 to the FRS may improve the targeting of CAD prevention in older people, but validation in independent samples is needed for confirmation.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.111.960146
PMCID: PMC4053863  PMID: 21852414
coronary artery disease; genetic variation; myocardial infarction; survival; Framingham Risk Score
4.  A Genome-Wide Association Study of Depressive Symptoms 
Hek, Karin | Demirkan, Ayse | Lahti, Jari | Terracciano, Antonio | Teumer, Alexander | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Amin, Najaf | Bakshis, Erin | Baumert, Jens | Ding, Jingzhong | Liu, Yongmei | Marciante, Kristin | Meirelles, Osorio | Nalls, Michael A. | Sun, Yan V. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Yu, Lei | Bandinelli, Stefania | Benjamin, Emelia J. | Bennett, David A. | Boomsma, Dorret | Cannas, Alessandra | Coker, Laura H. | de Geus, Eco | De Jager, Philip L. | Diez-Roux, Ana V. | Purcell, Shaun | Hu, Frank B. | Rimma, Eric B. | Hunter, David J. | Jensen, Majken K. | Curhan, Gary | Rice, Kenneth | Penman, Alan D. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Emeny, Rebecca | Eriksson, Johan G. | Evans, Denis A. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fornage, Myriam | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hofman, Albert | Illig, Thomas | Kardia, Sharon | Kelly-Hayes, Margaret | Koenen, Karestan | Kraft, Peter | Kuningas, Maris | Massaro, Joseph M. | Melzer, David | Mulas, Antonella | Mulder, Cornelis L. | Murray, Anna | Oostra, Ben A. | Palotie, Aarno | Penninx, Brenda | Petersmann, Astrid | Pilling, Luke C. | Psaty, Bruce | Rawal, Rajesh | Reiman, Eric M. | Schulz, Andrea | Shulman, Joshua M. | Singleton, Andrew B. | Smith, Albert V. | Sutin, Angelina R. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Widen, Elisabeth | Yaffe, Kristine | Zonderman, Alan B. | Cucca, Francesco | Harris, Tamara | Ladwig, Karl-Heinz | Llewellyn, David J. | Räikkönen, Katri | Tanaka, Toshiko | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Grabe, Hans J. | Launer, Lenore J. | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Mosley, Thomas H. | Newman, Anne B. | Tiemeier, Henning | Murabito, Joanne
Biological psychiatry  2013;73(7):10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.09.033.
Background
Depression is a heritable trait that exists on a continuum of varying severity and duration. Yet, the search for genetic variants associated with depression has had few successes. We exploit the entire continuum of depression to find common variants for depressive symptoms.
Methods
In this genome-wide association study, we combined the results of 17 population-based studies assessing depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Replication of the independent top hits (p < 1 × 10−5) was performed in five studies assessing depressive symptoms with other instruments. In addition, we performed a combined meta-analysis of all 22 discovery and replication studies.
Results
The discovery sample comprised 34,549 individuals (mean age of 66.5) and no loci reached genome-wide significance (lowest p = 1.05 × 10−7). Seven independent single nucleotide polymorphisms were considered for replication. In the replication set (n = 16,709), we found suggestive association of one single nucleotide polymorphism with depressive symptoms (rs161645, 5q21, p = 9.19 × 10−3). This 5q21 region reached genome-wide significance (p = 4.78 × 10−8) in the overall meta-analysis combining discovery and replication studies (n = 51,258).
Conclusions
The results suggest that only a large sample comprising more than 50,000 subjects may be sufficiently powered to detect genes for depressive symptoms.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.09.033
PMCID: PMC3845085  PMID: 23290196
Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; CHARGE consortium; depression; depressive symptoms; genetics; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis
5.  DNA mismatch repair gene MSH6 implicated in determining age at natural menopause 
Perry, John R.B. | Hsu, Yi-Hsiang | Chasman, Daniel I. | Johnson, Andrew D. | Elks, Cathy | Albrecht, Eva | Andrulis, Irene L. | Beesley, Jonathan | Berenson, Gerald S. | Bergmann, Sven | Bojesen, Stig E. | Bolla, Manjeet K. | Brown, Judith | Buring, Julie E. | Campbell, Harry | Chang-Claude, Jenny | Chenevix-Trench, Georgia | Corre, Tanguy | Couch, Fergus J. | Cox, Angela | Czene, Kamila | D'adamo, Adamo Pio | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dennis, Joe | Easton, Douglas F. | Engelhardt, Ellen G. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Esko, Tõnu | Fasching, Peter A. | Figueroa, Jonine D. | Flyger, Henrik | Fraser, Abigail | Garcia-Closas, Montse | Gasparini, Paolo | Gieger, Christian | Giles, Graham | Guenel, Pascal | Hägg, Sara | Hall, Per | Hayward, Caroline | Hopper, John | Ingelsson, Erik | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Kasiman, Katherine | Knight, Julia A. | Lahti, Jari | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Margolin, Sara | Marsh, Julie A. | Metspalu, Andres | Olson, Janet E. | Pennell, Craig E. | Polasek, Ozren | Rahman, Iffat | Ridker, Paul M. | Robino, Antonietta | Rudan, Igor | Rudolph, Anja | Salumets, Andres | Schmidt, Marjanka K. | Schoemaker, Minouk J. | Smith, Erin N. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Southey, Melissa | Stöckl, Doris | Swerdlow, Anthony J. | Thompson, Deborah J. | Truong, Therese | Ulivi, Sheila | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wang, Qin | Wild, Sarah | Wilson, James F | Wright, Alan F. | Zgaga, Lina | Ong, Ken K. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Karasik, David | Murray, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(9):2490-2497.
The length of female reproductive lifespan is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and infertility. The biological processes that govern the timing of the beginning and end of reproductive life are not well understood. Genetic variants are known to contribute to ∼50% of the variation in both age at menarche and menopause, but to date the known genes explain <15% of the genetic component. We have used genome-wide association in a bivariate meta-analysis of both traits to identify genes involved in determining reproductive lifespan. We observed significant genetic correlation between the two traits using genome-wide complex trait analysis. However, we found no robust statistical evidence for individual variants with an effect on both traits. A novel association with age at menopause was detected for a variant rs1800932 in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 (P = 1.9 × 10−9), which was also associated with altered expression levels of MSH6 mRNA in multiple tissues. This study contributes to the growing evidence that DNA repair processes play a key role in ovarian ageing and could be an important therapeutic target for infertility.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt620
PMCID: PMC3976329  PMID: 24357391
6.  The splice site variant rs11078928 may be associated with a genotype-dependent alteration in expression of GSDMB transcripts 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:627.
Background
Many genetic variants have been associated with susceptibility to complex traits by genome wide association studies (GWAS), but for most, causal genes and mechanisms of action have yet to be elucidated. Using bioinformatics, we identified index and proxy variants associated with autoimmune disease susceptibility, with the potential to affect splicing of candidate genes. PCR and sequence analysis of whole blood RNA samples from population controls was then carried out for the 8 most promising variants to determine the effect of genetic variation on splicing of target genes.
Results
We identified 31 splice site SNPs with the potential to affect splicing, and prioritised 8 to determine the effect of genotype on candidate gene splicing. We identified that variants rs11078928 and rs2014886 were associated with altered splicing of the GSDMB and TSFM genes respectively. rs11078928, present in the asthma and autoimmune disease susceptibility locus on chromosome 17q12-21, was associated with the production of a novel Δ exon5-8 transcript of the GSDMB gene, and a separate decrease in the percentage of transcripts with inclusion of exon 6, whereas the multiple sclerosis susceptibility variant rs2014886, was associated with an alternative TFSM transcript encompassing a short cryptic exon within intron 2.
Conclusions
Our findings demonstrate the utility of a bioinformatic approach in identification and prioritisation of genetic variants effecting splicing of their host genes, and suggest that rs11078928 and rs2014886 may affect the splicing of the GSDMB and TSFM genes respectively.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-627
PMCID: PMC3848490  PMID: 24044605
GSDMB; Rs11078928; Asthma; Autoimmune disease; GWAS; SNP; Alternative mRNA splicing
7.  Serum concentrations of follicle stimulating hormone may predict premature ovarian failure in FRAXA premutation women 
Human reproduction (Oxford, England)  1999;14(5):1217-1218.
It is now recognized that female carriers of fragile X premutations are at increased risk of premature ovarian failure. We have studied 51 premenopausal women from fragile X families, to determine whether premutation carriers have variations in the hormonal markers of menopause, compared to full mutations and controls. We found a significant increase in serum follicle stimulating hormone in premutation carriers, suggesting that as a group they will enter menopause before full mutation carriers and unaffected controls. These results have important implications for fertility in these women.
PMCID: PMC3728645  PMID: 10325264
fragile; X/FSH/premature; ovarian; failure/premutation
8.  Fragile X Premutation Is a Significant Risk Factor for Premature Ovarian Failure 
The preliminary results of an international collaborative study examining premature menopause in fragile X carriers are presented. A total of 760 women from fragile X families was surveyed about their fragile X carrier status and their menstrual and reproductive histories. Among the subjects, 395 carried a premutation, 128 carried a full mutation, and 237 were noncarriers. Sixty-three (16%) of the premutation carriers had experienced menopause prior to the age of 40 compared with none of the full mutation carriers and one (0.4%) of the controls. Based on these preliminary data, there is a significant association between fragile X premutation carrier status and premature menopause.
PMCID: PMC3728646  PMID: 10208170
fragile X syndrome; premature ovarian failure; premature menopause; fragile X premutation
9.  Nonlinear association between CGG repeat number and age of menopause in FMR1 premutation carriers 
FMR1 premutations are known to be associated with premature ovarian failure (POF), but the underlying mechanism is unknown. We present evidence for a nonlinear association between menopause age and premutation size suggesting that premutations in the mid-size range are at greatest risk for POF, while larger premutations are at lower risk.
doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201510
PMCID: PMC3725422  PMID: 16251893
FMR1; permutation; premature ovarian failure
10.  Reproductive and menstrual history of females with fragile X expansions 
FRAXA premutations have been associated with premature ovarian failure (POF) or menopause before the age of 40. We have studied women in families ascertained because of a mentally retarded full mutation relative and determined their age of menopause, serum hormone levels in premenopausal individuals and the outcome of any pregnancies. Survival analysis was used as a measure of menopause and demonstrated a significant decrease in age of menopause in premutation carriers compared with their full mutation carrier and normal relatives. Serum FSH was also raised in premutation carriers, although oestradiol, inhibin A and inhibin B were not significantly different. However, we did not find an excess of dizygous twins or pregnancy loss/trisomies, both of which are associated with aging ovaries. Thus premutation carriers as a group have an earlier menopause and raised serum FSH but do not appear to manifest other features of an aging ovary.
doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200451
PMCID: PMC3725540  PMID: 10854106
Fragile X; premutation; premature ovarian failure
11.  Association Between Chromosome 9p21 Variants and the Ankle-Brachial Index Identified by a Meta-Analysis of 21 Genome-Wide Association Studies 
Murabito, Joanne M. | White, Charles C. | Kavousi, Maryam | Sun, Yan V. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Nambi, Vijay | Lamina, Claudia | Schillert, Arne | Coassin, Stefan | Bis, Joshua C. | Broer, Linda | Crawford, Dana C. | Franceschini, Nora | Frikke-Schmidt, Ruth | Haun, Margot | Holewijn, Suzanne | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Kiechl, Stefan | Kollerits, Barbara | Montasser, May E. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Rudock, Megan E. | Senft, Andrea | Teumer, Alexander | van der Harst, Pim | Vitart, Veronique | Waite, Lindsay L. | Wood, Andrew R. | Wassel, Christina L. | Absher, Devin M. | Allison, Matthew A. | Amin, Najaf | Arnold, Alice | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Aulchenko, Yurii | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barbalic, Maja | Boban, Mladen | Brown-Gentry, Kristin | Couper, David J. | Criqui, Michael H. | Dehghan, Abbas | Heijer, Martin den | Dieplinger, Benjamin | Ding, Jingzhong | Dörr, Marcus | Espinola-Klein, Christine | Felix, Stephan B. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Folsom, Aaron R. | Fraedrich, Gustav | Gibson, Quince | Goodloe, Robert | Gunjaca, Grgo | Haltmayer, Meinhard | Heiss, Gerardo | Hofman, Albert | Kieback, Arne | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Kolcic, Ivana | Kullo, Iftikhar J. | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Lackner, Karl J. | Li, Xiaohui | Lieb, Wolfgang | Lohman, Kurt | Meisinger, Christa | Melzer, David | Mohler, Emile R | Mudnic, Ivana | Mueller, Thomas | Navis, Gerjan | Oberhollenzer, Friedrich | Olin, Jeffrey W. | O’Connell, Jeff | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | Palmas, Walter | Penninx, Brenda W. | Petersmann, Astrid | Polasek, Ozren | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rantner, Barbara | Rice, Ken | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Seldenrijk, Adrie | Stadler, Marietta | Summerer, Monika | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tybjaerg-Hansen, Anne | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | van Gilst, Wiek H. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Wild, Sarah H. | Wild, Philipp S. | Willeit, Johann | Zeller, Tanja | Zemunik, Tatijana | Zgaga, Lina | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Blankenberg, Stefan | Boerwinkle, Eric | Campbell, Harry | Cooke, John P. | de Graaf, Jacqueline | Herrington, David | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Murray, Anna | Münzel, Thomas | Newman, Anne | Oostra, Ben A. | Rudan, Igor | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Snieder, Harold | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Völker, Uwe | Wright, Alan F. | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Wilson, James F. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Liu, Yongmei | Hayward, Caroline | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Ziegler, Andreas | North, Kari E. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Kronenberg, Florian
Background
Genetic determinants of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) remain largely unknown. To identify genetic variants associated with the ankle-brachial index (ABI), a noninvasive measure of PAD, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data from 21 population-based cohorts.
Methods and Results
Continuous ABI and PAD (ABI≤0.9) phenotypes adjusted for age and sex were examined. Each study conducted genotyping and imputed data to the ~2.5 million SNPs in HapMap. Linear and logistic regression models were used to test each SNP for association with ABI and PAD using additive genetic models. Study-specific data were combined using fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analyses. There were a total of 41,692 participants of European ancestry (~60% women, mean ABI 1.02 to 1.19), including 3,409 participants with PAD and with GWAS data available. In the discovery meta-analysis, rs10757269 on chromosome 9 near CDKN2B had the strongest association with ABI (β= −0.006, p=2.46x10−8). We sought replication of the 6 strongest SNP associations in 5 population-based studies and 3 clinical samples (n=16,717). The association for rs10757269 strengthened in the combined discovery and replication analysis (p=2.65x10−9). No other SNP associations for ABI or PAD achieved genome-wide significance. However, two previously reported candidate genes for PAD and one SNP associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) were associated with ABI : DAB21P (rs13290547, p=3.6x10−5); CYBA (rs3794624, p=6.3x10−5); and rs1122608 (LDLR, p=0.0026).
Conclusions
GWAS in more than 40,000 individuals identified one genome-wide significant association on chromosome 9p21 with ABI. Two candidate genes for PAD and 1 SNP for CAD are associated with ABI.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.111.961292
PMCID: PMC3303225  PMID: 22199011
cohort study; genetic association; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis; peripheral vascular disease
12.  A genome-wide association study of early menopause and the combined impact of identified variants 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(7):1465-1472.
Early menopause (EM) affects up to 10% of the female population, reducing reproductive lifespan considerably. Currently, it constitutes the leading cause of infertility in the western world, affecting mainly those women who postpone their first pregnancy beyond the age of 30 years. The genetic aetiology of EM is largely unknown in the majority of cases. We have undertaken a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in 3493 EM cases and 13 598 controls from 10 independent studies. No novel genetic variants were discovered, but the 17 variants previously associated with normal age at natural menopause as a quantitative trait (QT) were also associated with EM and primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). Thus, EM has a genetic aetiology which overlaps variation in normal age at menopause and is at least partly explained by the additive effects of the same polygenic variants. The combined effect of the common variants captured by the single nucleotide polymorphism arrays was estimated to account for ∼30% of the variance in EM. The association between the combined 17 variants and the risk of EM was greater than the best validated non-genetic risk factor, smoking.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds551
PMCID: PMC3596848  PMID: 23307926
13.  Human aging is characterized by focused changes in gene expression and deregulation of alternative splicing 
Aging cell  2011;10(5):868-878.
Summary
Aging is a major risk factor for chronic disease in the human population, but there is little human data on gene expression alterations that accompany the process. We examined human peripheral blood leucocyte in-vivo RNA in a large-scale transcriptomic microarray study (subjects aged 30 to 104 years). We tested associations between probe expression intensity and advancing age (adjusting for confounding factors), initially in a discovery set (n = 458), following-up findings in a replication set (n=240). We confirmed expression of key results by real-time PCR. Of 16,571 expressed probes, only 295 (2%) were robustly associated with age. Just six probes were required for a highly efficient model for distinguishing between young and old (Area Under the Curve in replication set; 95%). The focussed nature of age-related gene expression may therefore provide potential biomarkers of aging. Similarly, only 7 of 1065 biological or metabolic pathways were age-associated, in Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA), notably including the processing of messenger RNAs (mRNAs); (p<0.002, FDR q<0.05). This is supported by our observation of age-associated disruption to the balance of alternatively-expressed isoforms for selected genes, suggesting that modification of mRNA processing may be a feature of human aging.
doi:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00726.x
PMCID: PMC3173580  PMID: 21668623
Aging; Gene expression; mRNA processing; Cell senescence; predictive model
14.  Meta-analyses identify 13 novel loci associated with age at menopause and highlights DNA repair and immune pathways 
Stolk, Lisette | Perry, John RB | Chasman, Daniel I | He, Chunyan | Mangino, Massimo | Sulem, Patrick | Barbalic, Maja | Broer, Linda | Byrne, Enda M | Ernst, Florian | Esko, Tõnu | Franceschini, Nora | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Kraft, Peter | McArdle, Patick F | Porcu, Eleonora | Shin, So-Youn | Smith, Albert V | van Wingerden, Sophie | Zhai, Guangju | Zhuang, Wei V | Albrecht, Eva | Alizadeh, Behrooz Z | Aspelund, Thor | Bandinelli, Stefania | Lauc, Lovorka Barac | Beckmann, Jacques S | Boban, Mladen | Boerwinkle, Eric | Broekmans, Frank J | Burri, Andrea | Campbell, Harry | Chanock, Stephen J | Chen, Constance | Cornelis, Marilyn C | Corre, Tanguy | Coviello, Andrea D | d’Adamo, Pio | Davies, Gail | de Faire, Ulf | de Geus, Eco JC | Deary, Ian J | Dedoussis, George VZ | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Ebrahim, Shah | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Emilsson, Valur | Eriksson, Johan G | Fauser, Bart CJM | Ferreli, Liana | Ferrucci, Luigi | Fischer, Krista | Folsom, Aaron R | Garcia, Melissa E | Gasparini, Paolo | Gieger, Christian | Glazer, Nicole | Grobbee, Diederick E | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hankinson, Susan E | Hass, Merli | Hayward, Caroline | Heath, Andrew C | Hofman, Albert | Ingelsson, Erik | Janssens, A Cecile JW | Johnson, Andrew D | Karasik, David | Kardia, Sharon LR | Keyzer, Jules | Kiel, Douglas P | Kolcic, Ivana | Kutalik, Zoltán | Lahti, Jari | Lai, Sandra | Laisk, Triin | Laven, Joop SE | Lawlor, Debbie A | Liu, Jianjun | Lopez, Lorna M | Louwers, Yvonne V | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Marongiu, Mara | Martin, Nicholas G | Klaric, Irena Martinovic | Masciullo, Corrado | McKnight, Barbara | Medland, Sarah E | Melzer, David | Mooser, Vincent | Navarro, Pau | Newman, Anne B | Nyholt, Dale R | Onland-Moret, N. Charlotte | Palotie, Aarno | Paré, Guillaume | Parker, Alex N | Pedersen, Nancy L | Peeters, Petra HM | Pistis, Giorgio | Plump, Andrew S | Polasek, Ozren | Pop, Victor JM | Psaty, Bruce M | Räikkönen, Katri | Rehnberg, Emil | Rotter, Jerome I | Rudan, Igor | Sala, Cinzia | Salumets, Andres | Scuteri, Angelo | Singleton, Andrew | Smith, Jennifer A | Snieder, Harold | Soranzo, Nicole | Stacey, Simon N | Starr, John M | Stathopoulou, Maria G | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stolk, Ronald P | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Sun, Yan V | Tenesa, Albert | Thorand, Barbara | Toniolo, Daniela | Tryggvadottir, Laufey | Tsui, Kim | Ulivi, Sheila | van Dam, Rob M | van der Schouw, Yvonne T | van Gils, Carla H | van Nierop, Peter | Vink, Jacqueline M | Visscher, Peter M | Voorhuis, Marlies | Waeber, Gérard | Wallaschofski, Henri | Wichmann, H Erich | Widen, Elisabeth | Gent, Colette JM Wijnands-van | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilson, James F | Wolffenbuttel, Bruce HR | Wright, Alan F | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M | Zemunik, Tatijana | Zgaga, Lina | Zillikens, M. Carola | Zygmunt, Marek | Arnold, Alice M | Boomsma, Dorret I | Buring, Julie E. | Crisponi, Laura | Demerath, Ellen W | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Harris, Tamara B | Hu, Frank B | Hunter, David J | Launer, Lenore J | Metspalu, Andres | Montgomery, Grant W | Oostra, Ben A | Ridker, Paul M | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Spector, Tim D | Stefansson, Kari | Streeten, Elizabeth A | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Uda, Manuela | Uitterlinden, André G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Völzke, Henry | Murray, Anna | Murabito, Joanne M | Visser, Jenny A | Lunetta, Kathryn L
Nature Genetics  2012;44(3):260-268.
To identify novel loci for age at natural menopause, we performed a meta-analysis of 22 genome-wide association studies in 38,968 women of European descent, with replication in up to 14,435 women. In addition to four known loci, we identified 13 new age at natural menopause loci (P < 5 × 10−8). The new loci included genes implicated in DNA repair (EXO1, HELQ, UIMC1, FAM175A, FANCI, TLK1, POLG, PRIM1) and immune function (IL11, NLRP11, BAT2). Gene-set enrichment pathway analyses using the full GWAS dataset identified exodeoxyribonuclease, NFκB signalling and mitochondrial dysfunction as biological processes related to timing of menopause.
doi:10.1038/ng.1051
PMCID: PMC3288642  PMID: 22267201
15.  A Genome-Wide Association Meta-Analysis of Circulating Sex Hormone–Binding Globulin Reveals Multiple Loci Implicated in Sex Steroid Hormone Regulation 
Coviello, Andrea D. | Haring, Robin | Wellons, Melissa | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Lehtimäki, Terho | Keildson, Sarah | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | He, Chunyan | Fornage, Myriam | Lagou, Vasiliki | Mangino, Massimo | Onland-Moret, N. Charlotte | Chen, Brian | Eriksson, Joel | Garcia, Melissa | Liu, Yong Mei | Koster, Annemarie | Lohman, Kurt | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Petersen, Ann-Kristin | Prescott, Jennifer | Stolk, Lisette | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Wood, Andrew R. | Zhuang, Wei Vivian | Ruokonen, Aimo | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Pouta, Anneli | Bandinelli, Stefania | Biffar, Reiner | Brabant, Georg | Cox, David G. | Chen, Yuhui | Cummings, Steven | Ferrucci, Luigi | Gunter, Marc J. | Hankinson, Susan E. | Martikainen, Hannu | Hofman, Albert | Homuth, Georg | Illig, Thomas | Jansson, John-Olov | Johnson, Andrew D. | Karasik, David | Karlsson, Magnus | Kettunen, Johannes | Kiel, Douglas P. | Kraft, Peter | Liu, Jingmin | Ljunggren, Östen | Lorentzon, Mattias | Maggio, Marcello | Markus, Marcello R. P. | Mellström, Dan | Miljkovic, Iva | Mirel, Daniel | Nelson, Sarah | Morin Papunen, Laure | Peeters, Petra H. M. | Prokopenko, Inga | Raffel, Leslie | Reincke, Martin | Reiner, Alex P. | Rexrode, Kathryn | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Schwartz, Stephen M. | Siscovick, David | Soranzo, Nicole | Stöckl, Doris | Tworoger, Shelley | Uitterlinden, André G. | van Gils, Carla H. | Vasan, Ramachandran S. | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Zhai, Guangju | Bhasin, Shalender | Bidlingmaier, Martin | Chanock, Stephen J. | De Vivo, Immaculata | Harris, Tamara B. | Hunter, David J. | Kähönen, Mika | Liu, Simin | Ouyang, Pamela | Spector, Tim D. | van der Schouw, Yvonne T. | Viikari, Jorma | Wallaschofski, Henri | McCarthy, Mark I. | Frayling, Timothy M. | Murray, Anna | Franks, Steve | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | de Jong, Frank H. | Raitakari, Olli | Teumer, Alexander | Ohlsson, Claes | Murabito, Joanne M. | Perry, John R. B.
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(7):e1002805.
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein responsible for the transport and biologic availability of sex steroid hormones, primarily testosterone and estradiol. SHBG has been associated with chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D) and with hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 21,791 individuals from 10 epidemiologic studies and validated these findings in 7,046 individuals in an additional six studies. We identified twelve genomic regions (SNPs) associated with circulating SHBG concentrations. Loci near the identified SNPs included SHBG (rs12150660, 17p13.1, p = 1.8×10−106), PRMT6 (rs17496332, 1p13.3, p = 1.4×10−11), GCKR (rs780093, 2p23.3, p = 2.2×10−16), ZBTB10 (rs440837, 8q21.13, p = 3.4×10−09), JMJD1C (rs7910927, 10q21.3, p = 6.1×10−35), SLCO1B1 (rs4149056, 12p12.1, p = 1.9×10−08), NR2F2 (rs8023580, 15q26.2, p = 8.3×10−12), ZNF652 (rs2411984, 17q21.32, p = 3.5×10−14), TDGF3 (rs1573036, Xq22.3, p = 4.1×10−14), LHCGR (rs10454142, 2p16.3, p = 1.3×10−07), BAIAP2L1 (rs3779195, 7q21.3, p = 2.7×10−08), and UGT2B15 (rs293428, 4q13.2, p = 5.5×10−06). These genes encompass multiple biologic pathways, including hepatic function, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism and T2D, androgen and estrogen receptor function, epigenetic effects, and the biology of sex steroid hormone-responsive cancers including breast and prostate cancer. We found evidence of sex-differentiated genetic influences on SHBG. In a sex-specific GWAS, the loci 4q13.2-UGT2B15 was significant in men only (men p = 2.5×10−08, women p = 0.66, heterogeneity p = 0.003). Additionally, three loci showed strong sex-differentiated effects: 17p13.1-SHBG and Xq22.3-TDGF3 were stronger in men, whereas 8q21.12-ZBTB10 was stronger in women. Conditional analyses identified additional signals at the SHBG gene that together almost double the proportion of variance explained at the locus. Using an independent study of 1,129 individuals, all SNPs identified in the overall or sex-differentiated or conditional analyses explained ∼15.6% and ∼8.4% of the genetic variation of SHBG concentrations in men and women, respectively. The evidence for sex-differentiated effects and allelic heterogeneity highlight the importance of considering these features when estimating complex trait variance.
Author Summary
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is the key protein responsible for binding and transporting the sex steroid hormones, testosterone and estradiol, in the circulatory system. SHBG regulates their bioavailability and therefore their effects in the body. SHBG has been linked to chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and to hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. SHBG concentrations are approximately 50% heritable in family studies, suggesting SHBG concentrations are under significant genetic control; yet, little is known about the specific genes that influence SHBG. We conducted a large study of the association of SHBG concentrations with markers in the human genome in ∼22,000 white men and women to determine which loci influence SHBG concentrations. Genes near the identified genomic markers in addition to the SHBG protein coding gene included PRMT6, GCKR, ZBTB10, JMJD1C, SLCO1B1, NR2F2, ZNF652, TDGF3, LHCGR, BAIAP2L1, and UGT2B15. These genes represent a wide range of biologic pathways that may relate to SHBG function and sex steroid hormone biology, including liver function, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism and type 2 diabetes, and the development and progression of sex steroid hormone-responsive cancers.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002805
PMCID: PMC3400553  PMID: 22829776
16.  Oxidative Metabolism Genes Are Not Responsive to Oxidative Stress in Rodent Beta Cell Lines 
Experimental Diabetes Research  2012;2012:793783.
Altered expression of oxidative metabolism genes has been described in the skeletal muscle of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Pancreatic beta cells contain low levels of antioxidant enzymes and are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress. In this study, we explored the effect of hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress on a panel of oxidative metabolism genes in a rodent beta cell line. We exposed INS-1 rodent beta cells to low (5.6 mmol/L), ambient (11 mmol/L), and high (28 mmol/L) glucose conditions for 48 hours. Increases in oxidative stress were measured using the fluorescent probe dihydrorhodamine 123. We then measured the expression levels of a panel of 90 oxidative metabolism genes by real-time PCR. Elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was evident in INS-1 cells after 48 hours (P < 0.05). TLDA analysis revealed a significant (P < 0.05) upregulation of 16 of the 90 genes under hyperglycemic conditions, although these expression differences did not reflect differences in ROS. We conclude that although altered glycemia may influence the expression of some oxidative metabolism genes, this effect is probably not mediated by increased ROS production. The alterations to the expression of oxidative metabolism genes previously observed in human diabetic skeletal muscle do not appear to be mirrored in rodent pancreatic beta cells.
doi:10.1155/2012/793783
PMCID: PMC3290830  PMID: 22454629
17.  Thirty new loci for age at menarche identified by a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies 
Elks, Cathy E. | Perry, John R.B. | Sulem, Patrick | Chasman, Daniel I. | Franceschini, Nora | He, Chunyan | Lunetta, Kathryn L. | Visser, Jenny A. | Byrne, Enda M. | Cousminer, Diana L. | Gudbjartsson, Daniel F. | Esko, Tõnu | Feenstra, Bjarke | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Koller, Daniel L. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Lin, Peng | Mangino, Massimo | Marongiu, Mara | McArdle, Patrick F. | Smith, Albert V. | Stolk, Lisette | van Wingerden, Sophie W. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Albrecht, Eva | Corre, Tanguy | Ingelsson, Erik | Hayward, Caroline | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Smith, Erin N. | Ulivi, Shelia | Warrington, Nicole M. | Zgaga, Lina | Alavere, Helen | Amin, Najaf | Aspelund, Thor | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barroso, Ines | Berenson, Gerald S. | Bergmann, Sven | Blackburn, Hannah | Boerwinkle, Eric | Buring, Julie E. | Busonero, Fabio | Campbell, Harry | Chanock, Stephen J. | Chen, Wei | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Couper, David | Coviello, Andrea D. | d’Adamo, Pio | de Faire, Ulf | de Geus, Eco J.C. | Deloukas, Panos | Döring, Angela | Smith, George Davey | Easton, Douglas F. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Emilsson, Valur | Eriksson, Johan | Ferrucci, Luigi | Folsom, Aaron R. | Foroud, Tatiana | Garcia, Melissa | Gasparini, Paolo | Geller, Frank | Gieger, Christian | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hall, Per | Hankinson, Susan E. | Ferreli, Liana | Heath, Andrew C. | Hernandez, Dena G. | Hofman, Albert | Hu, Frank B. | Illig, Thomas | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Johnson, Andrew D. | Karasik, David | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kiel, Douglas P. | Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O. | Kolcic, Ivana | Kraft, Peter | Launer, Lenore J. | Laven, Joop S.E. | Li, Shengxu | Liu, Jianjun | Levy, Daniel | Martin, Nicholas G. | McArdle, Wendy L. | Melbye, Mads | Mooser, Vincent | Murray, Jeffrey C. | Murray, Sarah S. | Nalls, Michael A. | Navarro, Pau | Nelis, Mari | Ness, Andrew R. | Northstone, Kate | Oostra, Ben A. | Peacock, Munro | Palmer, Lyle J. | Palotie, Aarno | Paré, Guillaume | Parker, Alex N. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Peltonen, Leena | Pennell, Craig E. | Pharoah, Paul | Polasek, Ozren | Plump, Andrew S. | Pouta, Anneli | Porcu, Eleonora | Rafnar, Thorunn | Rice, John P. | Ring, Susan M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rudan, Igor | Sala, Cinzia | Salomaa, Veikko | Sanna, Serena | Schlessinger, David | Schork, Nicholas J. | Scuteri, Angelo | Segrè, Ayellet V. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Soranzo, Nicole | Sovio, Ulla | Srinivasan, Sathanur R. | Strachan, David P. | Tammesoo, Mar-Liis | Tikkanen, Emmi | Toniolo, Daniela | Tsui, Kim | Tryggvadottir, Laufey | Tyrer, Jonathon | Uda, Manuela | van Dam, Rob M. | van Meurs, Joyve B.J. | Vollenweider, Peter | Waeber, Gerard | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Weedon, Michael N. | Wichmann, H. Erich | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wilson, James F. | Wright, Alan F. | Young, Lauren | Zhai, Guangju | Zhuang, Wei Vivian | Bierut, Laura J. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Boyd, Heather A. | Crisponi, Laura | Demerath, Ellen W. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Econs, Michael J. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hunter, David J. | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Metspalu, Andres | Montgomery, Grant W. | Ridker, Paul M. | Spector, Tim D. | Streeten, Elizabeth A. | Stefansson, Kari | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Uitterlinden, André G. | Widen, Elisabeth | Murabito, Joanne M. | Ong, Ken K. | Murray, Anna
Nature genetics  2010;42(12):1077-1085.
To identify loci for age at menarche, we performed a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies in 87,802 women of European descent, with replication in up to 14,731 women. In addition to the known loci at LIN28B (P=5.4×10−60) and 9q31.2 (P=2.2×10−33), we identified 30 novel menarche loci (all P<5×10−8) and found suggestive evidence for a further 10 loci (P<1.9×10−6). New loci included four previously associated with BMI (in/near FTO, SEC16B, TRA2B and TMEM18), three in/near other genes implicated in energy homeostasis (BSX, CRTC1, and MCHR2), and three in/near genes implicated in hormonal regulation (INHBA, PCSK2 and RXRG). Ingenuity and MAGENTA pathway analyses identified coenzyme A and fatty acid biosynthesis as biological processes related to menarche timing.
doi:10.1038/ng.714
PMCID: PMC3140055  PMID: 21102462
18.  Genetic Determinants of Serum Testosterone Concentrations in Men 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(10):e1002313.
Testosterone concentrations in men are associated with cardiovascular morbidity, osteoporosis, and mortality and are affected by age, smoking, and obesity. Because of serum testosterone's high heritability, we performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data in 8,938 men from seven cohorts and followed up the genome-wide significant findings in one in silico (n = 871) and two de novo replication cohorts (n = 4,620) to identify genetic loci significantly associated with serum testosterone concentration in men. All these loci were also associated with low serum testosterone concentration defined as <300 ng/dl. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) locus (17p13-p12) were identified as independently associated with serum testosterone concentration (rs12150660, p = 1.2×10−41 and rs6258, p = 2.3×10−22). Subjects with ≥3 risk alleles of these variants had 6.5-fold higher risk of having low serum testosterone than subjects with no risk allele. The rs5934505 polymorphism near FAM9B on the X chromosome was also associated with testosterone concentrations (p = 5.6×10−16). The rs6258 polymorphism in exon 4 of SHBG affected SHBG's affinity for binding testosterone and the measured free testosterone fraction (p<0.01). Genetic variants in the SHBG locus and on the X chromosome are associated with a substantial variation in testosterone concentrations and increased risk of low testosterone. rs6258 is the first reported SHBG polymorphism, which affects testosterone binding to SHBG and the free testosterone fraction and could therefore influence the calculation of free testosterone using law-of-mass-action equation.
Author Summary
Testosterone is the most important testicular androgen in men. Low serum testosterone concentrations are associated with cardiovascular morbidity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and increased mortality risk. Thus, there is growing evidence that serum testosterone is a valuable biomarker of men's overall health status. Studies in male twins indicate that there is a strong heritability of serum testosterone. Here we perform a large-scale genome-wide association study to examine the effects of common genetic variants on serum testosterone concentrations. By examining 14,429 men, we show that genetic variants in the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) locus and on the X chromosome are associated with a substantial variation in serum testosterone concentrations and increased risk of low testosterone. The reported associations may now be used in order to better understand the functional background of recently identified disease associations related to low testosterone. Importantly, we identified the first known genetic variant, which affects SHBG's affinity for binding testosterone and the free testosterone fraction and could therefore influence the calculation of free testosterone. This finding suggests that individual-based SHBG-testosterone affinity constants are required depending on the genotype of this single-nucleotide polymorphism.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002313
PMCID: PMC3188559  PMID: 21998597
19.  Polymorphisms in LMNA and near a SERPINA gene cluster are associated with cognitive function in older people 
Neurobiology of aging  2008;31(9):1563-1568.
A recent genome-wide association (GWA) study of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) identified 15 novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) independent of ApoE. We hypothesized that variants associated with LOAD are also associated with poor cognitive function in elderly populations. We measured additive associations between the five most strongly associated LOAD SNPs and grouped Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. Variants were genotyped in respondents (mean age 79yrs) from the Oxford Healthy Aging project (OHAP) and other sites of the MRC Cognitive Function and Aging Study (MRC-CFAS). In adjusted ordinal logistic models, two variants were associated with poorer cognitive function: rs11622883 (OR=1.14, 95%CI: 1.01 to 1.28, p=0.040) and rs505058 (OR=1.29, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.64, p=0.036). These SNPs are close to a SERPINA gene cluster and within LMNA respectively. The mechanisms underlying the associations with cognitive impairment and LOAD require further elucidation, but both genes are interesting candidates for involvement in age-related cognitive impairment.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2008.08.020
PMCID: PMC2975102  PMID: 18848371
Late-onset Alzheimer's disease; dementia; cognitive function; cognitive impairment; gene; single nucleotide polymorphism; ApoE; LMNA
20.  Allelic heterogeneity and more detailed analyses of known loci explain additional phenotypic variation and reveal complex patterns of association 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4082-4092.
The identification of multiple signals at individual loci could explain additional phenotypic variance (‘missing heritability’) of common traits, and help identify causal genes. We examined gene expression levels as a model trait because of the large number of strong genetic effects acting in cis. Using expression profiles from 613 individuals, we performed genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses to identify cis-expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), and conditional analysis to identify second signals. We examined patterns of association when accounting for multiple SNPs at a locus and when including additional SNPs from the 1000 Genomes Project. We identified 1298 cis-eQTLs at an approximate false discovery rate 0.01, of which 118 (9%) showed evidence of a second independent signal. For this subset of 118 traits, accounting for two signals resulted in an average 31% increase in phenotypic variance explained (Wilcoxon P< 0.0001). The association of SNPs with cis gene expression could increase, stay similar or decrease in significance when accounting for linkage disequilibrium with second signals at the same locus. Pairs of SNPs increasing in significance tended to have gene expression increasing alleles on opposite haplotypes, whereas pairs of SNPs decreasing in significance tended to have gene expression increasing alleles on the same haplotypes. Adding data from the 1000 Genomes Project showed that apparently independent signals could be potentially explained by a single association signal. Our results show that accounting for multiple variants at a locus will increase the variance explained in a substantial fraction of loci, but that allelic heterogeneity will be difficult to define without resequencing loci and functional work.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr328
PMCID: PMC3177649  PMID: 21798870
21.  Intermediate sized CGG repeats are not a common cause of idiopathic premature ovarian failure 
Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)  2010;25(5):1335-1338.
BACKGROUND
It is recognized that FMR1 premutation expansions are associated with premature ovarian failure (POF), but the role of smaller repeats at the boundary of premutation and normal is less clear.
METHODS
We have therefore investigated the incidence of these intermediate sized FMR1 CGG repeats (35–58 repeats) in a series of 366 women ascertained because of menopause before the age of 40.
RESULTS
We found no significant difference in the incidence of intermediates in cases compared with controls. Thus, we were unable to replicate previous studies showing a positive association, despite a significantly larger sample size.
CONCLUSIONS
We therefore conclude that intermediate sized FMR1 CGG repeat alleles should not be considered a high-risk factor for POF based on current evidence.
doi:10.1093/humrep/deq058
PMCID: PMC2854048  PMID: 20228389
POF; CGG repeat; FMR1; intermediate
22.  Eight Common Genetic Variants Associated with Serum DHEAS Levels Suggest a Key Role in Ageing Mechanisms 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(4):e1002025.
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) is the most abundant circulating steroid secreted by adrenal glands—yet its function is unknown. Its serum concentration declines significantly with increasing age, which has led to speculation that a relative DHEAS deficiency may contribute to the development of common age-related diseases or diminished longevity. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data with 14,846 individuals and identified eight independent common SNPs associated with serum DHEAS concentrations. Genes at or near the identified loci include ZKSCAN5 (rs11761528; p = 3.15×10−36), SULT2A1 (rs2637125; p = 2.61×10−19), ARPC1A (rs740160; p = 1.56×10−16), TRIM4 (rs17277546; p = 4.50×10−11), BMF (rs7181230; p = 5.44×10−11), HHEX (rs2497306; p = 4.64×10−9), BCL2L11 (rs6738028; p = 1.72×10−8), and CYP2C9 (rs2185570; p = 2.29×10−8). These genes are associated with type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, actin filament assembly, drug and xenobiotic metabolism, and zinc finger proteins. Several SNPs were associated with changes in gene expression levels, and the related genes are connected to biological pathways linking DHEAS with ageing. This study provides much needed insight into the function of DHEAS.
Author Summary
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), mainly secreted by the adrenal gland, is the most abundant circulating steroid in humans. It shows a significant physiological decline after the age of 25 and diminishes about 95% by the age of 85 years, which has led to speculation that a relative DHEAS deficiency may contribute to the development of common age-related diseases or diminished longevity. Twin- and family-based studies have shown that there is a substantial genetic effect with heritability estimate of 60%, but no specific genes regulating serum DHEAS concentration have been identified to date. Here we take advantage of recent technical and methodological advances to examine the effects of common genetic variants on serum DHEAS concentrations. By examining 14,846 Caucasian individuals, we show that eight common genetic variants are associated with serum DHEAS concentrations. Genes at or near these genetic variants include BCL2L11, ARPC1A, ZKSCAN5, TRIM4, HHEX, CYP2C9, BMF, and SULT2A1. These genes have various associations with steroid hormone metabolism—co-morbidities of ageing including type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, actin filament assembly, drug and xenobiotic metabolism, and zinc finger proteins—suggesting a wider functional role for DHEAS than previously thought.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002025
PMCID: PMC3077384  PMID: 21533175
23.  Common genetic variants are significant risk factors for early menopause: results from the Breakthrough Generations Study 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;20(1):186-192.
Women become infertile approximately 10 years before menopause, and as more women delay childbirth into their 30s, the number of women who experience infertility is likely to increase. Tests that predict the timing of menopause would allow women to make informed reproductive decisions. Current predictors are only effective just prior to menopause, and there are no long-range indicators. Age at menopause and early menopause (EM) are highly heritable, suggesting a genetic aetiology. Recent genome-wide scans have identified four loci associated with variation in the age of normal menopause (40–60 years). We aimed to determine whether theses loci are also risk factors for EM. We tested the four menopause-associated genetic variants in a cohort of approximately 2000 women with menopause ≤45 years from the Breakthrough Generations Study (BGS). All four variants significantly increased the odds of having EM. Comparing the 4.5% of individuals with the lowest number of risk alleles (two or three) with the 3.0% with the highest number (eight risk alleles), the odds ratio was 4.1 (95% CI 2.4–7.1, P = 4.0 × 10−7). In combination, the four variants discriminated EM cases with a receiver operator characteristic area under the curve of 0.6. Four common genetic variants identified by genome-wide association studies, had a significant impact on the odds of having EM in an independent cohort from the BGS. The discriminative power is still limited, but as more variants are discovered they may be useful for predicting reproductive lifespan.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq417
PMCID: PMC3000672  PMID: 20952801
24.  The paraoxonase (PON1) Q192R polymorphism is not associated with poor health status or depression in the ELSA or InCHIANTI studies 
Background The human paraoxonase (PON1) protein detoxifies certain organophosphates, and the PON1 Q192R polymorphism (rs662) affects PON1 activity. Groups with higher dose exposure to organophosphate sheep dips or first Gulf War nerve toxins reported poorer health if they had 192R, and these associations have been used to exemplify Mendelian randomization analysis. However, a reported association of 192R with depression in a population-based study of older women recently cast doubt on the specificity of the higher dose findings. We aimed to examine associations between the PON1 Q192R polymorphism and self-reported poor health and depression in two independent population-based studies.
Methods We used logistic regression models to examine the associations in men and women aged 60–79 years from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA, n = 3158) and InCHIANTI (n = 761) population studies. Outcomes included the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, self-rated general health status and (in ELSA only) diagnoses of depression.
Results The PON1 Q192R polymorphism was not associated with self-reported poor health {meta-analysis: odds ratio (OR) = 1.01 [confidence interval (CI) 0.91–1.13], P = 0.80} or depressive symptoms in either study or in meta-analyses [CES-D: OR = 1.01 (CI 0.87–1.17), P = 0.90]. There was also no association with histories of diagnosed depression in ELSA [OR = 1.03 (CI 0.82–1.30), P = 0.80].
Conclusions We found no evidence of an association between the PON1 Q192R polymorphism and poor general or mental health in two independent population-based studies. Neither the claimed Q192R association with depression in the general population nor its theoretical implications were supported.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyp265
PMCID: PMC2755129  PMID: 19651761
PON1 Q192R polymorphism; rs662; organophosphates; detoxification; paraoxonase activity; depression; Mendelian randomization
25.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association data identifies two loci influencing age at menarche 
Nature genetics  2009;41(6):648-650.
We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data to detect genes influencing age at menarche in 17,510 women. The strongest signal was at 9q31.2 (P = 1.7 × 10−9), where the nearest genes include TMEM38B, FKTN, FSD1L, TAL2 and ZNF462. The next best signal was near the LIN28B gene (rs7759938; P = 7.0 × 10−9), which also influences adult height. We provide the first evidence for common genetic variants influencing female sexual maturation.
doi:10.1038/ng.386
PMCID: PMC2942986  PMID: 19448620

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