Genetics of human body size and shape: Evidence for an oligogenic control of adiposity

E. Ginsburg*, Gregory Livshits, K. Yakovenko, E. Kobyliansky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In a previous study by the authors in each of the pedigree samples from Kirghizstan, Turkmenia and Chuvashia, four principal factors supposedly controlled by four non-overlapping gene subsets were found. About 90% of total variation of adiposity as assessed by 22 measurements of skinfolds, circumferences and indices were covered by these factors. This study provides results of segregation analysis of each of these four factors. By the usual transmission probability tests, major gene (MG) control was accepted in all 12 analyses - four traits in three populations. Some of the most parsimonious MG models included non-MG effects, such as correlation of residuals between spouses, between parent and offspring and between sibs. The Kirghizian samples showed a significant assortative mating effect as measured by the correlation between genotypic values at putative MG in spouses. The proportion of the trait variance attributable to the MG effect varied from 0.296 (factor F4 in the Chuvashia sample) to 0.596 (the same factor in the Kirghizian sample). It is assumed that four independent large-effect genes can be recognized in the genetic control of adiposity determining, respectively, individual predisposition to accumulate subcutaneous fat, its distribution between the body trunk and extremities, predisposition to accumulate inner fat and its distribution between the upper and lower body parts. In each population, unification of the four most parsimonious MG models forms oligogenic models explaining from 0.364 (Chuvashia) to 0.540 (Kirghizstan) of total adiposity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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