Height is a classic polygenic trait with high heritability (h(2)=0.8). Recent genome-wide association studies have revealed many independent loci associated with human height. In addition, although many studies have reported an association between copy number variation (CNV) and complex diseases, few have explored the relationship between CNV and height. Recent studies reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are highly correlated with common CNVs, suggesting that it is warranted to survey CNVs to identify additional genetic factors affecting heritable traits such as height. This study tested the hypothesis that there would be CNV regions (CNVRs) associated with height nearby genes from the GWASs known to affect height. We identified regions containing >1% copy number deletion frequency from 3667 population-based cohort samples using the Illumina HumanOmni1-Quad BeadChip. Among the identified CNVRs, we selected 15 candidate regions that were located within 1Mb of 283 previously reported genes. To assess the effect of these CNVRs on height, statistical analyses were conducted with samples from a case group of 370 taller (upper 10%) individuals and a control group of 1828 individuals (lower 50%). We found that a newly identified 17.7 kb deletion at chromosomal position 12q24.33, approximately 171.6 kb downstream of GPR133, significantly correlated with height; this finding was validated using quantitative PCR. These results suggest that CNVs are potentially important in determining height and may contribute to height variation in human populations.
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