Yang J, Bakshi A, Zhu Z, Hemani G, Vinkhuyzen AA, Nolte IM, van Vliet-Ostaptchouk JV, Snieder H, Lifelines Cohort Study , Esko T, Milani L, Mägi R, Metspalu A, Hamsten A, Magnusson PK, Pedersen NL, Ingelsson E, Visscher PM
Hum. Mol. Genet. 24 (25) 7445-7449 [2015-12-20; online 2015-10-22]
Sex-specific genetic effects have been proposed to be an important source of variation for human complex traits. Here we use two distinct genome-wide methods to estimate the autosomal genetic correlation (rg) between men and women for human height and body mass index (BMI), using individual-level (n = ∼44 000) and summary-level (n = ∼133 000) data from genome-wide association studies. Results are consistent and show that the between-sex genetic correlation is not significantly different from unity for both traits. In contrast, we find evidence of genetic heterogeneity between sexes for waist-hip ratio (rg = ∼0.7) and between populations for BMI (rg = ∼0.9 between Europe and the USA) but not for height. The lack of evidence for substantial genetic heterogeneity for body size is consistent with empirical findings across traits and species.