Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Publication Detail

Title: Leveraging population admixture to characterize the heritability of complex traits.

Authors: Zaitlen, Noah; Pasaniuc, Bogdan; Sankararaman, Sriram; Bhatia, Gaurav; Zhang, Jianqi; Gusev, Alexander; Young, Taylor; Tandon, Arti; Pollack, Samuela; Vilhjálmsson, Bjarni J; Assimes, Themistocles L; Berndt, Sonja I; Blot, William J; Chanock, Stephen; Franceschini, Nora; Goodman, Phyllis G; He, Jing; Hennis, Anselm J M; Hsing, Ann; Ingles, Sue A; Isaacs, William; Kittles, Rick A; Klein, Eric A; Lange, Leslie A; Nemesure, Barbara; Patterson, Nick; Reich, David; Rybicki, Benjamin A; Stanford, Janet L; Stevens, Victoria L; Strom, Sara S; Whitsel, Eric A; Witte, John S; Xu, Jianfeng; Haiman, Christopher; Wilson, James G; Kooperberg, Charles; Stram, Daniel; Reiner, Alex P; Tang, Hua; Price, Alkes L

Published In Nat Genet, (2014 Dec)

Abstract: Despite recent progress on estimating the heritability explained by genotyped SNPs (h(2)g), a large gap between h(2)g and estimates of total narrow-sense heritability (h(2)) remains. Explanations for this gap include rare variants or upward bias in family-based estimates of h(2) due to shared environment or epistasis. We estimate h(2) from unrelated individuals in admixed populations by first estimating the heritability explained by local ancestry (h(2)γ). We show that h(2)γ = 2FSTCθ(1 - θ)h(2), where FSTC measures frequency differences between populations at causal loci and θ is the genome-wide ancestry proportion. Our approach is not susceptible to biases caused by epistasis or shared environment. We applied this approach to the analysis of 13 phenotypes in 21,497 African-American individuals from 3 cohorts. For height and body mass index (BMI), we obtained h(2) estimates of 0.55 ± 0.09 and 0.23 ± 0.06, respectively, which are larger than estimates of h(2)g in these and other data but smaller than family-based estimates of h(2).

PubMed ID: 25383972 Exiting the NIEHS site

MeSH Terms: African Americans/genetics; African Continental Ancestry Group; Aged; Body Mass Index; Cardiovascular Diseases/genetics; Case-Control Studies; Chromosome Mapping; Cohort Studies; Computer Simulation; Epistasis, Genetic; Female; Genetics, Population/methods*; Genome-Wide Association Study*; Genotype; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Models, Genetic; Models, Statistical; Multifactorial Inheritance*; Phenotype; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide; Prostatic Neoplasms/genetics; Quantitative Trait, Heritable*; Reproducibility of Results; United States

to Top