Two Novel Genetic Variants Linked to Childhood Obesity

Two loci, previously identified in meta-analysis of adult BMI, also valid in extreme childhood obesity

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Two new genetic variants have been found to be associated with childhood obesity, according to a study published online April 8 in Nature Genetics.

Jonathan P. Bradfield, from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 14 genome-wide association studies on childhood obesity, consisting of 5,530 cases (at least the 95th percentile of body mass index [BMI] before 18 years of age) and 8,318 controls (less than the 50th percentile of BMI), all of European ancestry.

The researchers identified eight novel significant loci, which were tested against an independent set of 2,818 cases and 4,083 controls. They identified two loci with a consistent association with childhood obesity near OLFM4 on chromosome 13q14 and within the HOXB5 at 17q21. These two loci remained significant on inclusion of two extreme childhood obesity cohorts (greater than the 99.5th percentile of BMI) of 2,214 cases and 2,674 controls. In a previous meta-analysis of adult BMI, the two loci also yielded consistent associations, the authors note.

"In summary, as a consequence of extensive North American, Australian, and European collaborative genome-wide meta-analyses on children, we have uncovered two new obesity loci that have the strongest evidence for association with elevated adiposity in the first 18 years of life," Bradfield and colleagues write.

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