A new study published in PLoS Genetics by the University of Pennsylvania's Sarah Tishkoff and her colleagues shows that complex genetics can underlie even the most seemingly simple traits, says Nature News' Erika Check Hayden. Tishkoff and her team analyzed the genomes of 57 people from Pygmy groups in Cameroon, and 39 taller Bantu-speaking people from neighboring areas. "The researchers could not conclusively link specific genes to height, but did pinpoint a region of chromosome 3 containing genes that, they speculate, may be involved," Hayden says. The researchers did confirm that the more Bantu ancestry a person had, the taller they were likely to be, "supporting the idea that Pygmy stature has genetic roots," she adds. Then, the researchers looked for specific SNPs, but couldn't conclusively link any of them to the Pygmies' height — though they did narrow the association down to a specific chromosomal region. "Tishkoff says that her paper highlights some of the challenges involved in studying the genetics of limited, ancient populations," Hayden writes.
Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study, and on the genetics of human height.