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Genes 2015, 6(3), 559-576; doi:10.3390/genes6030559

Heritability and Genome-Wide Association Studies for Hair Color in a Dutch Twin Family Based Sample

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam 1081 BT, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: J. Peter W. Young
Received: 24 June 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Abstract

Hair color is one of the most visible and heritable traits in humans. Here, we estimated heritability by structural equation modeling (N = 20,142), and performed a genome wide association (GWA) analysis (N = 7091) and a GCTA study (N = 3340) on hair color within a large cohort of twins, their parents and siblings from the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR). Self-reported hair color was analyzed as five binary phenotypes, namely “blond versus non-blond”, “red versus non-red”, “brown versus non-brown”, “black versus non-black”, and “light versus dark”. The broad-sense heritability of hair color was estimated between 73% and 99% and the genetic component included non-additive genetic variance. Assortative mating for hair color was significant, except for red and black hair color. From GCTA analyses, at most 24.6% of the additive genetic variance in hair color was explained by 1000G well-imputed SNPs. Genome-wide association analysis for each hair color showed that SNPs in the MC1R region were significantly associated with red, brown and black hair, and also with light versus dark hair color. Five other known genes (HERC2, TPCN2, SLC24A4, IRF4, and KITLG) gave genome-wide significant hits for blond, brown and light versus dark hair color. We did not find and replicate any new loci for hair color. View Full-Text
Keywords: hair color; twin-family based heritability; GRM based heritability; Genome Wide Association Study hair color; twin-family based heritability; GRM based heritability; Genome Wide Association Study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, B.D.; Mbarek, H.; Willemsen, G.; Dolan, C.V.; Fedko, I.O.; Abdellaoui, A.; de Geus, E.J.; Boomsma, D.I.; Hottenga, J.-J. Heritability and Genome-Wide Association Studies for Hair Color in a Dutch Twin Family Based Sample. Genes 2015, 6, 559-576.

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