The first gene linked to tallness, one of the most heritable of traits, has been discovered by scientists, a finding that is expected to shed light on human development and further understanding of cancer. An international team including researchers at Oxford and Exeter analysed DNA from 35,000 people and found that a single letter in the human genetic code was responsible for making some people taller than others.
The scientists zeroed in on a gene called HMGA2, of which we inherit two copies, one from each parent. Inheriting a form of the gene that has a C written into the genetic code instead of a T adds about half a centimetre to a person's height, the scientists found, while inheriting two copies adds nearly a full centimetre.
The discovery is the first to identify a single gene that directly influences natural variation of height. Around a quarter of white Europeans will carry two versions of the "tall" version of the gene, with another quarter carrying two "short" versions.
Scientists at Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston joined British researchers at Oxford University and the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter to scour the genomes of 5,000 white European patients who had volunteered DNA samples and details of their height and weight for medical studies into diabetes -read more