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1.  Genetic association analysis highlights new loci that modulate hematological trait variation in Caucasians and African Americans 
Human genetics  2010;129(3):307-317.
Red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelet measures, including their count, sub-type and volume, are important diagnostic and prognostic clinical parameters for several human diseases. To identify novel loci associated with hematological traits, and compare the architecture of these phenotypes between ethnic groups, the CARe Project genotyped 49,094 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that capture variation in ~2,100 candidate genes in DNA of 23,439 Caucasians and 7,112 African Americans from five population-based cohorts. We found strong novel associations between erythrocyte phenotypes and the glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) A-allele in African Americans (rs1050828, P < 2.0 × 10−13, T-allele associated with lower red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, and higher mean corpuscular volume), and between platelet count and a SNP at the tropomyosin-4 (TPM4) locus (rs8109288, P = 3.0 × 10−7 in Caucasians; P = 3.0 × 10−7 in African Americans, T-allele associated with lower platelet count). We strongly replicated many genetic associations to blood cell phenotypes previously established in Caucasians. A common variant of the α-globin (HBA2-HBA1) locus was associated with red blood cell traits in African Americans, but not in Caucasians (rs1211375, P < 7 × 10−8, A-allele associated with lower hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular volume). Our results show similarities but also differences in the genetic regulation of hematological traits in European- and African-derived populations, and highlight the role of natural selection in shaping these differences.
PMCID: PMC3442357  PMID: 21153663
2.  Integrative genomics identifies LMO1 as a neuroblastoma oncogene 
Nature  2010;469(7329):216-220.
Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that accounts for approximately 10% of all paediatric oncology deaths1,2. To identify genetic risk factors for neuroblastoma, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on 2,251 patients and 6,097 control subjects of European ancestry from four case series. Here we report a significant association within LIM domain only 1 (LMO1) at 11p15.4 (rs110419, combined P = 5.2 × 10−16, odds ratio of risk allele = 1.34 (95% confidence interval 1.25–1.44)). The signal was enriched in the subset of patients with the most aggressive form of the disease. LMO1 encodes a cysteine-rich transcriptional regulator, and its paralogues (LMO2, LMO3 and LMO4) have each been previously implicated in cancer. In parallel, we analysed genome-wide DNA copy number alterations in 701 primary tumours. We found that the LMO1 locus was aberrant in 12.4% through a duplication event, and that this event was associated with more advanced disease (P < 0.0001) and survival (P = 0.041). The germline single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) risk alleles and somatic copy number gains were associated with increased LMO1 expression in neuroblastoma cell lines and primary tumours, consistent with a gain-of-function role in tumorigenesis. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated depletion of LMO1 inhibited growth of neuroblastoma cells with high LMO1 expression, whereas forced expression of LMO1 in neuroblastoma cells with low LMO1 expression enhanced proliferation. These data show that common polymorphisms at the LMO1 locus are strongly associated with susceptibility to developing neuroblastoma, but also may influence the likelihood of further somatic alterations at this locus, leading to malignant progression.
PMCID: PMC3320515  PMID: 21124317
3.  Large Copy-Number Variations Are Enriched in Cases With Moderate to Extreme Obesity 
Diabetes  2010;59(10):2690-2694.
Obesity is an increasingly common disorder that predisposes to several medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes. We investigated whether large and rare copy-number variations (CNVs) differentiate moderate to extreme obesity from never-overweight control subjects.
Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, we performed a genome-wide CNV survey on 430 obese case subjects (BMI >35 kg/m2) and 379 never-overweight control subjects (BMI <25 kg/m2). All subjects were of European ancestry and were genotyped on the Illumina HumanHap550 arrays with ∼550,000 SNP markers. The CNV calls were generated by PennCNV software.
CNVs >1 Mb were found to be overrepresented in case versus control subjects (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5 [95% CI 0.5–5]), and CNVs >2 Mb were present in 1.3% of the case subjects but were absent in control subjects (OR = infinity [95% CI 1.2–infinity]). When focusing on rare deletions that disrupt genes, even more pronounced effect sizes are observed (OR = 2.7 [95% CI 0.5–27.1] for CNVs >1 Mb). Interestingly, obese case subjects who carry these large CNVs have moderately high BMI and do not appear to be extreme cases. Several CNVs disrupt known candidate genes for obesity, such as a 3.3-Mb deletion disrupting NAP1L5 and a 2.1-Mb deletion disrupting UCP1 and IL15.
Our results suggest that large CNVs, especially rare deletions, confer risk of obesity in patients with moderate obesity and that genes impacted by large CNVs represent intriguing candidates for obesity that warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC3279563  PMID: 20622171
4.  Comparative genetic analysis of inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes implicates multiple loci with opposite effects 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(10):2059-2067.
Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), and type 1 diabetes (T1D) are autoimmune diseases that may share common susceptibility pathways. We examined known susceptibility loci for these diseases in a cohort of 1689 CD cases, 777 UC cases, 989 T1D cases and 6197 shared control subjects of European ancestry, who were genotyped by the Illumina HumanHap550 SNP arrays. We identified multiple previously unreported or unconfirmed disease associations, including known CD loci (ICOSLG and TNFSF15) and T1D loci (TNFAIP3) that confer UC risk, known UC loci (HERC2 and IL26) that confer T1D risk and known UC loci (IL10 and CCNY) that confer CD risk. Additionally, we show that T1D risk alleles residing at the PTPN22, IL27, IL18RAP and IL10 loci protect against CD. Furthermore, the strongest risk alleles for T1D within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) confer strong protection against CD and UC; however, given the multi-allelic nature of the MHC haplotypes, sequencing of the MHC locus will be required to interpret this observation. These results extend our current knowledge on genetic variants that predispose to autoimmunity, and suggest that many loci involved in autoimmunity may be under a balancing selection due to antagonistic pleiotropic effect. Our analysis implies that variants with opposite effects on different diseases may facilitate the maintenance of common susceptibility alleles in human populations, making autoimmune diseases especially amenable to genetic dissection by genome-wide association studies.
PMCID: PMC2860894  PMID: 20176734
5.  Association Between a High-Risk Autism Locus on 5p14 and Social Communication Spectrum Phenotypes in the General Population 
The American journal of psychiatry  2010;167(11):1364-1372.
Recent genome-wide analysis identified a genetic variant on 5p14.1 (rs4307059), which is associated with risk for autism spectrum disorder. This study investigated whether rs4307059 also operates as a quantitative trait locus underlying a broader autism phenotype in the general population, focusing specifically on the social communication aspect of the spectrum.
Study participants were 7,313 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Single-trait and joint-trait genotype associations were investigated for 29 measures related to language and communication, verbal intelligence, social interaction, and behavioral adjustment, assessed between ages 3 and 12 years. Analyses were performed in one-sided or directed mode and adjusted for multiple testing, trait interrelatedness, and random genotype dropout.
Single phenotype analyses showed that an increased load of rs4307059 risk allele is associated with stereotyped conversation and lower pragmatic communication skills, as measured by the Children's Communication Checklist (at a mean age of 9.7 years). In addition a trend toward a higher frequency of identification of special educational needs (at a mean age of 11.8 years) was observed. Variation at rs4307059 was also associated with the phenotypic profile of studied traits. This joint signal was fully explained neither by single-trait associations nor by overall behavioral adjustment problems but suggested a combined effect, which manifested through multiple subthreshold social, communicative, and cognitive impairments.
Our results suggest that common variation at 5p14.1 is associated with social communication spectrum phenotypes in the general population and support the role of rs4307059 as a quantitative trait locus for autism spectrum disorder.
PMCID: PMC3008767  PMID: 20634369
6.  Duplication of the SLIT3 Locus on 5q35.1 Predisposes to Major Depressive Disorder 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15463.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common psychiatric and behavioral disorder. To discover novel variants conferring risk to MDD, we conducted a whole-genome scan of copy number variation (CNV), including 1,693 MDD cases and 4,506 controls genotyped on the Perlegen 600K platform. The most significant locus was observed on 5q35.1, harboring the SLIT3 gene (P = 2×10−3). Extending the controls with 30,000 subjects typed on the Illumina 550 k array, we found the CNV to remain exclusive to MDD cases (P = 3.2×10−9). Duplication was observed in 5 unrelated MDD cases encompassing 646 kb with highly similar breakpoints. SLIT3 is integral to repulsive axon guidance based on binding to Roundabout receptors. Duplication of 5q35.1 is a highly penetrant variation accounting for 0.7% of the subset of 647 cases harboring large CNVs, using a threshold of a minimum of 10 SNPs and 100 kb. This study leverages a large dataset of MDD cases and controls for the analysis of CNVs with matched platform and ethnicity. SLIT3 duplication is a novel association which explains a definitive proportion of the largely unknown etiology of MDD.
PMCID: PMC2995745  PMID: 21152026
7.  Variants in ADCY5 and near CCNL1 are associated with fetal growth and birth weight 
Freathy, Rachel M | Mook-Kanamori, Dennis O | Sovio, Ulla | Prokopenko, Inga | Timpson, Nicholas J | Berry, Diane J | Warrington, Nicole M | Widen, Elisabeth | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Kaakinen, Marika | Lange, Leslie A | Bradfield, Jonathan P | Kerkhof, Marjan | Marsh, Julie A | Mägi, Reedik | Chen, Chih-Mei | Lyon, Helen N | Kirin, Mirna | Adair, Linda S | Aulchenko, Yurii S | Bennett, Amanda J | Borja, Judith B | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Charoen, Pimphen | Coin, Lachlan J M | Cousminer, Diana L | de Geus, Eco J. C. | Deloukas, Panos | Elliott, Paul | Evans, David M | Froguel, Philippe | Glaser, Beate | Groves, Christopher J | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hassanali, Neelam | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Hofman, Albert | Holly, Jeff M P | Hyppönen, Elina | Kanoni, Stavroula | Knight, Bridget A | Laitinen, Jaana | Lindgren, Cecilia M | McArdle, Wendy L | O'Reilly, Paul F | Pennell, Craig E | Postma, Dirkje S | Pouta, Anneli | Ramasamy, Adaikalavan | Rayner, Nigel W | Ring, Susan M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Shields, Beverley M | Strachan, David P | Surakka, Ida | Taanila, Anja | Tiesler, Carla | Uitterlinden, Andre G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wijga, Alet H | Willemsen, Gonneke | Zhang, Haitao | Zhao, Jianhua | Wilson, James F | Steegers, Eric A P | Hattersley, Andrew T | Eriksson, Johan G | Peltonen, Leena | Mohlke, Karen L | Grant, Struan F A | Hakonarson, Hakon | Koppelman, Gerard H | Dedoussis, George V | Heinrich, Joachim | Gillman, Matthew W | Palmer, Lyle J | Frayling, Timothy M | Boomsma, Dorret I | Smith, George Davey | Power, Chris | Jaddoe, Vincent W V | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | McCarthy, Mark I
Nature genetics  2010;42(5):430-435.
To identify genetic variants associated with birth weight, we meta-analyzed six genome-wide association (GWA) studies (N=10,623 Europeans from pregnancy/birth cohorts) and followed up two lead signals in thirteen replication studies (N=27,591). Rs900400 near LEKR1 and CCNL1 (P=2×10−35), and rs9883204 in ADCY5 (P=7×10−15) were robustly associated with birth weight. Correlated SNPs in ADCY5 were recently implicated in regulation of glucose levels and type 2 diabetes susceptibility,1 providing evidence that the well described association between lower birth weight and subsequent type 2 diabetes2,3 has a genetic component, distinct from the proposed role of programming by maternal nutrition. Using data from both SNPs, the 9% of Europeans with 4 birth weight-lowering alleles were, on average, 113g (95%CI 89-137g) lighter at birth than the 24% with 0 or 1 allele (Ptrend=7×10−30). The impact on birth weight is similar to that of a mother smoking 4-5 cigarettes per day in the third trimester of pregnancy.4
PMCID: PMC2862164  PMID: 20372150

Results 1-7 (7)