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Genome-wide methylation data improves dissection of the effect of smoking on body mass index.

By Carmen Amador, Yanni Zeng, Michael Barber, Rosie M Walker, Archie Campbell, Andrew M McIntosh, Kathryn L Evans, David Porteous, Caroline Hayward, James F Wilson, Pau Navarro, Chris S Haley

Posted 09 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.08.329672

Variation in obesity-related traits has a genetic basis with heritabilities between 40 and 70%. While the global obesity pandemic is usually associated with environmental changes related to lifestyle and socioeconomic changes, most genetic studies do not include all relevant environmental covariates, so genetic contribution to variation in obesity-related traits cannot be accurately assessed. Some studies have described interactions between a few individual genes linked to obesity and environmental variables but there is no agreement on their total contribution to differences between individuals. Here we compared self-reported smoking data and a methylation-based proxy to explore the effect of smoking and genome-by-smoking interactions on obesity related traits from a genome-wide perspective to estimate the amount of variance they explain . Our results indicate that exploiting omic measures can improve models for complex traits such as obesity and can be used as a substitute for, or jointly with, environmental records to better understand causes of disease.

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