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Hum Genet. 2011 Jan;129(1):1-15. doi: 10.1007/s00439-010-0920-6. Epub 2010 Nov 23.

Regions of homozygosity and their impact on complex diseases and traits.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Centre for Molecular Epidemiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore.


Regions of homozygosity (ROHs) are more abundant in the human genome than previously thought. These regions are without heterozygosity, i.e. all the genetic variations within the regions have two identical alleles. At present there are no standardized criteria for defining the ROHs resulting in the different studies using their own criteria in the analysis of homozygosity. Compared to the era of genotyping microsatellite markers, the advent of high-density single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping arrays has provided an unparalleled opportunity to comprehensively detect these regions in the whole genome in different populations. Several studies have identified ROHs which were associated with complex phenotypes such as schizophrenia, late-onset of Alzheimer's disease and height. Collectively, these studies have conclusively shown the abundance of ROHs larger than 1 Mb in outbred populations. The homozygosity association approach holds great promise in identifying genetic susceptibility loci harboring recessive variants for complex diseases and traits.

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