Integrative approach identifies SLC6A20 and CXCR6 as putative causal genes for the COVID-19 GWAS signal in the 3p21.31 locus

Genome Biol. 2021 Aug 23;22(1):242. doi: 10.1186/s13059-021-02454-4.


To date, the locus with the most robust human genetic association to COVID-19 severity is 3p21.31. Here, we integrate genome-scale CRISPR loss-of-function screens and eQTLs in diverse cell types and tissues to pinpoint genes underlying COVID-19 risk. Our findings identify SLC6A20 and CXCR6 as putative causal genes that modulate COVID-19 risk and highlight the usefulness of this integrative approach to bridge the divide between correlational and causal studies of human biology.

Keywords: COVID-19; CRISPR; GWAS; SARS-CoV-2; eQTL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Receptors, CXCR6 / genetics*


  • CXCR6 protein, human
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Receptors, CXCR6
  • SLC6A20 protein, human