Major Study has Identified Common Genetics Variants Linked to Muscle Strength

In a genome-wide association study, scientists from the University of Cambridge have identified 16 genetic variants that influence muscle strength in humans. The findings were published last week in the journal of Nature Communications.
According to senior author Professor Nick Wareham, the study highlights the role played by muscle strength in the prevention of the complications and fractures which often follow a fall. The researchers used data on hand grip strength from over 142,000 participants in the UK Biobank study and over 53,000 additional participants from the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, and Australia.
According to Dan Wright, an author and a Ph.D. student at the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, the very large number of participants in the UK Biobank offer a powerful resource for recognizing genes that are involved in complex traits like muscle strength.
The 16 genetic variants associated with grip strength are POLD3, ERP27, TGFA, HOXB3, PEX14, GLIS1, MGMT, SYT1, LRPPRC, GBF1, SLC8A1, KANSL1, IGSF9B, DEC1 ACTG1, and HLA. Most of the highlighted genes play a role in biological processes relevant to the function of muscle, including function and structure of muscle fibers, and the communication of muscle cells with the nervous system.
Using the 16 genetic variants, the researchers were able to examine the hypothesized causal link between adverse health outcomes and muscle strength.


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