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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 1;8(7):e66250. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066250. Print 2013.

Common variant rs9939609 in gene FTO confers risk to polycystic ovary syndrome.

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Center for Reproductive Medicine, Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, China.



Fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) has been associated with obesity, especially the common variant rs9939609. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrine-metabolic disorder and over 50% of patients are overweight/obese. Thus FTO is a potential candidate gene for PCOS but their relationship is confusing and remains to be clarified in different population with a large sample size.


This study was performed adopting a two-stage design by genotyping SNP rs9939609. The first set comprise of 741 PCOS and 704 control subjects, with data from our previous GWAS. The second phase of replication study was performed among another independent group of 2858 PCOS and 2358 control subjects using TaqMan-MGB probe assay. All subjects are from Han Chinese.


The less meaningful association of FTO rs9939609 and PCOS discovered in GWAS (P = 2.47E-03), was further confirmed in the replication study (P = 1.86E-09). Using meta-analysis, the P-meta value has reached 6.89E-12, over-exceeding the genome-wide association level of 5.00E-8. By combination, the P value was 1.26E-11 and after BMI adjustment it remained significant(P = 1.82E-06). To further elucidate whether this association is resulted from obesity or PCOS per se, the samples were divided into two groups-obese and non-obese PCOS, and the results were still positive in obese group (P obese = 5.81E-05, OR = 1.55), as well as in non-obese PCOS group (P non-obese = 7.06E-04, OR = 1.28).


Variant rs9939609 in FTO is associated with PCOS in Chinese women, not only in obese PCOS subjects, but also in non-obese cases.

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