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Variants in the FTO and CDKAL1 loci have recessive effects on risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes respectively

By Andrew R. Wood, Jessica Tyrell, Robin Beaumont, Samuel E. Jones, Marcus A. Tuke, Katherine S. Ruth, The GIANT consortium, Hanieh Yaghootkar, Rachel Freathy, Anna Murray, TM Frayling, Michael N Weedon

Posted 24 Sep 2015
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/027490 (published DOI: 10.1007/s00125-016-3908-5)

Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of common genetic variants associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes. These studies have focused on additive association tests. Identifying deviations from additivity may provide new biological insights and explain some of the missing heritability for these diseases. To identify non-additive associations we performed a genome-wide association study using a dominance deviation model for BMI, obesity and Type 2 diabetes (4,040 cases) in 120,286 individuals of British ancestry from the UK Biobank study. Known obesity-associated variants in FTO showed strong evidence for deviation from additivity (P=3x10-5) through a recessive effect of the BMI-increasing allele. The average BMI of individuals carrying 0, 1 or 2 BMI-raising alleles was 27.27kg/m2 (95% CI:27.22-27.31), 27.54kg/m2 (95% CI:27.50-27.58), and 28.07kg/m2 (95% CI:28.0-28.14), respectively. A similar effect was observed in 105,643 individuals from the GIANT consortium (P=0.003; Pmeta-analysis=1x10-7). We also detected a recessive effect (Pdomdev=5x10-4) at CDKAL1 for Type 2 diabetes risk. Homozygous risk allele carriers had an OR=1.48 (95% CI:1.32-1.65) in comparison to the heterozygous group that had an OR=1.06 (95% CI:0.99-1.14), a result consistent with a previous study. We did not identify any novel genome-wide associations. In conclusion, although we find no evidence for widespread non-additive effects contributing to the genetic risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes, we find robust examples of recessive effects at the FTO and CDKAL1 loci.

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