Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Nature: Sep 17, 2015

In Nature this week, international teams of researchers present a series of papers on the genetic analysis of nearly 10,000 individuals and the application of these data to osteoporosis research. In the first paper, a group led by Wellcome Trust scientists sequenced almost 4,000 whole genomes and nearly 6,000 whole exomes from healthy people and people with certain rare diseases, obesity, or neurodevelopmental conditions as part of the UK10K project. They report that whole-genome sequencing allowed them to characterize more than 24 million novel genetic variants from healthy individuals of European ancestry. In a related study, researchers from McGill University used data from UK10K and 1000 Genomes Project to identify new genetic variants that have a significant effect on bone mineral density in Europeans. In a third paper appearing in Nature Communications, the Wellcome Trust team describes a reference panel created from the whole-genome sequences of roughly 3,700 individuals participating in UK10K. GenomeWeb has more on these studies here.

And in Nature Genetics, a team of Australian researchers presents data suggesting that differences in height and body mass index between Europeans of different nationalities have a genetic basis. Using data from genome-wide association studies, the investigators compared height and BMI differences in roughly 9,400 people from 14 European countries. They found that historic natural selection on both traits has led to genetic differences between the nations, with an average of 24 percent of genetic variation in height and eight percent in BMI resulting from regional genetic differences. The study's authors note, however, that while genetic variation can help explain height differences between European populations, national BMI is primarily driven by environmental factors such as diet. GenomeWeb also covers this study here.