Article open access publication

Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for cattle stature identifies common genes that regulate body size in mammals

Nature Genetics, Springer Nature, ISSN 1061-4036

Volume 50, 3, 2018

DOI:10.1038/s41588-018-0056-5, Dimensions: pub.1101045822, PMID: 29459679,



  1. (1) Wageningen University & Research, grid.4818.5
  2. (2) La Trobe University, grid.1018.8
  3. (3) AgriBio, grid.452283.a
  4. (4) University of Melbourne, grid.1008.9
  5. (5) The Semex Alliance, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  6. (6) University of Guelph, grid.34429.38
  7. (7) Aarhus University, grid.7048.b, AU
  8. (8) Centre de Recherches de Jouy-en-Josas, grid.417961.c
  9. (9) University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, grid.6583.8
  10. (10) ETH Zurich, grid.5801.c
  11. (11) Technical University of Munich, grid.6936.a
  12. (12) GenPhySE, Université de Toulouse, INRA, INPT, INP-ENVT, Castanet-Tolosan, France
  13. (13) Iowa State University, grid.34421.30
  14. (14) Natural Resources Institute Finland, grid.22642.30
  15. (15) University of Milan, grid.4708.b
  16. (16) University of Missouri, grid.134936.a
  17. (17) University of Queensland, grid.1003.2
  18. (18) Qualitas AG, Zug, Switzerland
  19. (19) Allice, Paris, France
  20. (20) University of Bern, grid.5734.5
  21. (21) Canadian Beef Breeds Council, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  22. (22) Forschungsinstitut für Biologischen Landbau, grid.424520.5
  23. (23) Teagasc - The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, grid.6435.4
  24. (24) Institute of Animal Breeding, Bavarian State Research Centre for Agriculture, Poing, Germany
  25. (25) Tierzuchtforschung, Poing, Germany
  26. (26) University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, grid.5173.0
  27. (27) Agricultural Research Service, grid.463419.d
  28. (28) University of Alberta, grid.17089.37


Stature is affected by many polymorphisms of small effect in humans 1 . In contrast, variation in dogs, even within breeds, has been suggested to be largely due to variants in a small number of genes2,3. Here we use data from cattle to compare the genetic architecture of stature to those in humans and dogs. We conducted a meta-analysis for stature using 58,265 cattle from 17 populations with 25.4 million imputed whole-genome sequence variants. Results showed that the genetic architecture of stature in cattle is similar to that in humans, as the lead variants in 163 significantly associated genomic regions (P < 5 × 10-8) explained at most 13.8% of the phenotypic variance. Most of these variants were noncoding, including variants that were also expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) and in ChIP-seq peaks. There was significant overlap in loci for stature with humans and dogs, suggesting that a set of common genes regulates body size in mammals.


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