Growing importance of genetics

Growing importance of genetics

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An infant’s birth weight is associated with a variety of health outcomes all the way into adulthood. Birth weight is influenced by both fetal and maternal factors, as well as by environmental and genetic regulation. To elucidate the relative contributions of genetic factors from mother and child, Juliusdottir et al. performed genome-wide association studies on hundreds of thousands of mothers and newborns from the Icelandic birth register and other databases. Most of the genes that affected growth were part of the fetal genome, but the authors also identified some parental alleles that had specific effects, as well as pathways influenced by these genes, such as glycemic control and cardiovascular function.

Nat. Genet. 53, 1135 (2021).

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