How tall we are is largely determined by our genetic makeup, and much of that is inherited. But a recent study reveals that there are 80 genetic variants (alleles) that occur at lower frequency, but have a significant effect on the individual’s height – up to 2 centimetres of height per allele, which is ten times greater than the average effect of common genes. Alleles are essential to study of rare genetic disorders or complex diseases. This discovery can help develop early diagnoses for these disorders.


Eirini Marouli, Mariaelisa Graff, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Ken Sin Lo, Andrew R. Wood, Troels R. Kjaer, Rebecca S. Fine, Yingchang Lu, Claudia Schurmann, Heather M. Highland, Sina Rüeger, Gudmar Thorleifsson, Anne E. Justice, David Lamparter, Kathleen E. Stirrups, Valérie Turcot, Kristin L. Young, Thomas W. Winkler, Tõnu Esko, Tugce Karaderi, Adam E. Locke, Nicholas G. D. Masca, Maggie C. Y. Ng, Poorva Mudgal, Manuel A. Rivas, et al.

Corresponding author:

Guillaume Lettre, Université de Montréal, Email:; Tel: +1 514 376 3330

Original paper published in Nature on February 1, 2017.