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Haplotype genetic score analysis in 10,734 mother/infant pairs reveals complex maternal and fetal genetic effects underlying the associations between maternal phenotypes, birth outcomes and adult phenotypes

By Jing Chen, Jonas Bacelis, Pol Sole Navais, Amit Srivastava, Julius Juodakis, Amy Rouse, Mikko Hallman, Kari Teramo, Mads Melbye, Bjarke Feenstra, Rachel M. Freathy, George Davey-Smith, Deborah A. Lawlor, Jeffrey C Murray, Scott M Williams, Bo Jacobsson, Louis J Muglia, Ge Zhang

Posted 15 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/737106

Many maternal traits are associated a neonate's gestational duration, birth weight and birth length. These birth outcomes are subsequently associated with late onset health conditions. Based on 10,734 mother/infant duos of European ancestry, we constructed haplotype genetic scores to dissect the maternal and fetal genetic effects underlying these observed associations. We showed that maternal height and fetal growth jointly affect the duration of gestation - maternal height positively influences the gestational duration, while faster fetal growth reduces gestational duration. Fetal growth is influenced by both maternal and fetal effects and can reciprocally influence maternal phenotypes: tall maternal stature and higher blood glucose causally increase birth size; in the fetus, the height and metabolic risk increasing alleles can lead to increased and decreased birth size respectively; birth weight-raising alleles in fetus may reduce gestational duration and increase maternal blood pressure. These maternal and fetal genetic effects can largely explain the observed associations between the studied maternal phenotypes and birth outcomes as well as the life-course associations between these birth outcomes and adult phenotypes.

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