Victorian era scientists height predictor rule still most accurate

March 4th, 2009 - 2:58 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 4 (ANI): If your parents are tall, there’’s a very good chance you will be too, suggests a new study, which claims that a rule of thumb from the 1800s to predict the height of children based on their parents” stature is more accurate than the best genomic predictions.

In the year 1886, Sir Francis Galton, a Victorian scientist, developed a technique to predict the height of children. It averages the height of both parents and makes adjustments for age and sex.

“It’’s really not rocket science,” New Scientist quoted Yurii Aulchenko, a geneticist at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, as saying.

The experts research team compared this approach to a more complicated calculation based on gene variations linked to height.

Earlier scientists identified these mutations by scanning the genomes of tens of thousands of people, and then hunting for single letter changes shared by people of similar stature.

To reach the conclusion, the team reviewed 54 of these genetic variants across 5748 Dutch people and calculated a simple score for each person.

The higher a person’’s score, the more gene variants linked to tall stature he or she possessed.

But when these numbers were plotted against each person’’s height, and adjusted for age and sex, Aulchenko’’s team found only a minor correlation between a person’’s genetic score and their actual height.

Galton’’s method, on the other hand, proved about 10 times better at guessing the height of another 550 people.

The study has been published in European Journal of Human Genetics. (ANI)

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