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A Comprehensive Genome-wide and Phenome-wide Examination of BMI and Obesity in a Northern Nevadan Cohort

By Karen A Schlauch, the 23andMe Research Team, Robert W Read, Vincent C Lombardi, Gai Elhanan, William J Metcalf, Anthony D Slonim, Joseph J Grzymski

Posted 13 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/671123

The aggregation of Election Health Records (EHR) and personalized genetics leads to powerful discoveries relevant to population health. Here we perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and accompanying phenome-wide association studies (PheWAS) to validate phenotype-genotype associations of BMI, and to a greater extent, severe Class 2 obesity, using comprehensive diagnostic and clinical data from the EHR database of our cohort. Three GWASs of 500,000 variants on the Illumina platform of 6,645 Healthy Nevada participants identified several published and novel variants that affect BMI and obesity. Each GWAS was followed with two independent PheWASs to examine associations between extensive phenotypes (incidence of diagnoses, condition, or disease), significant SNPs, BMI, and incidence of extreme obesity. The first GWAS excludes DM2-diagnosed individuals and focuses on associations with BMI exclusively. The second GWAS examines the interplay between Type 2 Diabetes (DM2) and BMI. The intersection of significant variants of these two studies is surprising. The third complementary case-control GWAS, with cases defined as extremely obese (Class 2 or 3 obesity), identifies strong associations with extreme obesity, including established variants in the FTO and NEGR1 genes, as well as loci not yet linked to obesity. The PheWASs validate published associations between BMI and extreme obesity and incidence of specific diagnoses and conditions, yet also highlight novel links. This study emphasizes the importance of our extensive longitudinal EHR database to validate known associations and identify putative novel links with BMI and obesity.

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