Copy number variation in metabolic phenotypes Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Despite successes in identifying genetic contributors to common metabolic phenotypes, only part of the heritable component of these traits has thus far been explained. Copy number variation (CNV) is likely to be responsible for some of the unexplained variation. As observed with single nucleotide changes, it is probable that both rare and common CNVs will contribute to susceptibility to metabolic disease. For instance, CNVs in the LDLR gene underlie a substantial portion of disease in patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. As well, a common CNV in LPA encoding apolipoprotein(a) is the primary determinant of plasma lipoprotein(a) concentrations, a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Recent efforts to map CNVs in control populations have defined their size, frequency and distribution. Many of the identified CNVs overlap genes with important functions in metabolic pathways. The overlap of CNVs that were found in control datasets with functional candidate genes or genes with previous evidence of association with metabolic syndrome presents an important subset for future CNV association studies. Finally, we describe an approach to search for CNVs in a rare high-penetrance metabolic disorder, namely lipodystrophy. As methods to identify CNVs increase in precision and accuracy, the prospect of identifying their role in both rare Mendelian and common complex metabolic phenotypes will become a reality.

publication date

  • 2008