Meta-analysis identifies 13 new loci associated with waist-hip ratio and reveals sexual dimorphism in the genetic basis of fat distribution

Iris M Heid, Anne U Jackson, Joshua C Randall, Thomas W Winkler, Lu Qi, Valgerdur Steinthorsdottir, Gudmar Thorleifsson, M Carola Zillikens, Elizabeth K Speliotes, Reedik Mägi, Tsegaselassie Workalemahu, Charles C White, Nabila Bouatia-Naji, Tamara B Harris, Sonja I Berndt, Erik Ingelsson, Cristen J Willer, Michael N Weedon, Jian'an Luan, Sailaja VedantamTõnu Esko, Tuomas O Kilpeläinen, Zoltán Kutalik, Shengxu Li, Keri L Monda, Anna L Dixon, Christopher C Holmes, Lee M Kaplan, Liming Liang, Josine L Min, Miriam F Moffatt, Cliona Molony, George Nicholson, Eric E Schadt, Krina T Zondervan, Mary F Feitosa, Teresa Ferreira, Hana Lango Allen, Robert J Weyant, Nicholas John Timpson, Robert W Lawrence, Ian N M Day, Wendy L McArdle, Anne McCarthy, Lyle J Palmer, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, George Davey Smith, Shah Ebrahim, Debbie A Lawlor, James F Wilson, MAGIC

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

762 Citations (Scopus)


Waist-hip ratio (WHR) is a measure of body fat distribution and a predictor of metabolic consequences independent of overall adiposity. WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified. We conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies for WHR adjusted for body mass index (comprising up to 77,167 participants), following up 16 loci in an additional 29 studies (comprising up to 113,636 subjects). We identified 13 new loci in or near RSPO3, VEGFA, TBX15-WARS2, NFE2L3, GRB14, DNM3-PIGC, ITPR2-SSPN, LY86, HOXC13, ADAMTS9, ZNRF3-KREMEN1, NISCH-STAB1 and CPEB4 (P = 1.9 × 10⁻⁹ to P = 1.8 × 10⁻⁴⁰) and the known signal at LYPLAL1. Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men (P for sex difference = 1.9 × 10⁻³ to P = 1.2 × 10⁻¹³). These findings provide evidence for multiple loci that modulate body fat distribution independent of overall adiposity and reveal strong gene-by-sex interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-60
Number of pages12
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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