Copy Number Variations Associated With Obesity-Related Traits in African Americans: A Joint Analysis Between GENOA and HyperGEN




Obesity is a highly heritable trait and a growing public health problem. African Americans (AAs) are a genetically diverse, yet understudied population with a high prevalence of obesity (BMI >30 kg/m2). Recent studies based upon single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have identified genetic markers associated with obesity. However, a large proportion of the heritability of obesity remains unexplained. Copy number variation (CNV) has been cited as a possible source of missing heritability in common diseases such as obesity. We conducted a CNV genome-wide association study of BMI in two African-American cohorts from Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) and Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN). We performed independent and identical association analyses in each study, then combined the results in a meta-analysis. We identified three CNVs associated with BMI, obesity, and other obesity-related traits after adjusting for multiple testing. These CNVs overlap the PARK2, GYPA, and SGCZ genes. Our results suggest that CNV may play a role in the etiology of obesity in AAs.