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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019 May;27(5):845-854. doi: 10.1002/oby.22433. Epub 2019 Mar 18.

Assessing the Role of 98 Established Loci for BMI in American Indians.

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Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.



Meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies in Europeans have identified > 98 loci for BMI. Transferability of these established associations in Pima Indians was analyzed.


Among 98 lead single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 82 had minor allele frequency ≥ 0.01 in Pima Indians and were analyzed for association with the maximum BMI in adulthood (n = 3,491) and BMI z score in childhood (n = 1,958). Common tag SNPs across 98 loci were also analyzed for additional signals.


Among the lead SNPs, 13 (TMEM18, TCF7L2, MRPS33P4, PRKD1, ZFP64, FTO, TAL1, CALCR, GNPDA2, CREB1, LMX1B, ADCY9, NLRC3) were associated with BMI (P  ≤ 0.05) in Pima adults. A multi-allelic genetic risk score (GRS), which summed the risk alleles for 82 lead SNPs, showed a significant trend for a positive relationship between GRS and BMI in adulthood (beta = 0.48% per risk allele; P = 1.6 × 10-9 ) and BMI z score in childhood (beta = 0.024 SD; P = 1.7 × 10-7 ). GRS was significantly associated with BMI across all age groups ≥ 5 years, except for those ≥ 50 years. The strongest association was seen in adolescence (age 14-16 years; P = 1.84 × 10-9 ).


In aggregate, European-derived lead SNPs had a notable effect on BMI in Pima Indians. Polygenic obesity in this population manifests strongly in childhood and adolescence and persists throughout much of adult life.

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