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A genome-wide association study in Japanese identified one variant associated with a preference for a Japanese dietary pattern



Individual eating habits may be influenced by genetic factors, in addition to environmental factors. Previous studies suggested that adherence to Japanese food patterns was associated with a decreased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in a Japanese population to find genetic variations that affect adherence to a Japanese food pattern.


We analyzed GWAS data using 14,079 participants from the Japan Multi-Institutional Collaborative Cohort study. We made a Japanese food score based on six food groups. Association of the imputed variants with the Japanese food score was performed by linear regression analysis with adjustments for age, sex, total energy intake, alcohol intake (g/day), and principal components 1–10 omitting variants in the major histocompatibility region.


We found one SNP in the 14q11.2 locus that was significantly associated with the Japanese food score with P values <5 × 10−8. Functional annotation revealed that the expression levels of two genes (BCL2L2, SLC22A17) were significantly inversely associated with this SNP. These genes are known to be related to olfaction and obesity.


We found a new SNP that was associated with the Japanese food score in a Japanese population. This SNP is inversely associated with genes link to olfaction and obesity.

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Fig. 1: A quantile-quantile plot (black) of genome-wide association studies.
Fig. 2: Genome-wide association signals.


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We would like to thank all the staff at the Laboratory for Genotyping Development, Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, RIKEN, the staff of the BioBank Japan project, and the members of J-MICC Research Group. We thank Drs. Nobuyuki Hamajima and Hideo Tanaka, the past principal investigators of the J-MICC, for their continuous support for our study. The full list of consortium (J-MICC Research Group) members is given in the Supplementary Information.


This study was supported by a Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research for Priority Areas of Cancer (No. 17015018) and Innovative Areas (No. 221S0001), and by JSPS KAKENHI Grants (No. 16H06277) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This study was also supported in part by funding for the BioBank Japan Project from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and development from April 2015, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology from April 2003 to March 2015.

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YN, YoK, and KW: designed the research; HS, YN, NI, CG, NT, KenM, KMi, AH, TT, YuK, RR, YNi, CS, DN, ToT, IO, HI, HiK, MM, DM, EO, HM, YoN, SS, MW, KA, HU, KK, YM, MK, and KT: conducted the research; HS, YN, KeiM, AN, AS, and MN: analyzed data and performed statistical analyses; HS, YN, and KW: wrote the manuscript and had primary responsibility for final content. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Yasuyuki Nakamura.

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Suzuki, H., Nakamura, Y., Matsuo, K. et al. A genome-wide association study in Japanese identified one variant associated with a preference for a Japanese dietary pattern. Eur J Clin Nutr 75, 937–945 (2021).

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