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Shedding light on the genetics of fetal growth

Genome-wide association studies have identified genetic variants in maternal and fetal genomes associated with early-life growth traits but have been limited by the paucity of large-scale family-based cohorts that would enable the resolution of informative transmissions between parents and their offspring. A new study uses extensive pedigree data from the Icelandic population to identify genetic effects on birth weight that differ according to parental origin and to demarcate distinct contributions from the maternal intrauterine environment and offspring genetics on fetal growth.

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Fig. 1: Schematic diagram showing the different ways in which maternally and paternally derived alleles can influence fetal growth.


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D.M.E. is supported by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (GNT1137714). R.M.F. is funded by a Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship (WT220390).

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Correspondence to David M. Evans or Rachel M. Freathy.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Evans, D.M., Freathy, R.M. Shedding light on the genetics of fetal growth. Nat Genet 53, 1120–1121 (2021).

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