DNA can be used to predict
taller-than-average height, a new study finds.
This could prove useful in
criminal investigations and in estimating if a child will be abnormally tall as
an adult, the researchers said.
Their study of nearly 800
extremely tall adults and more than 9 000 normal-height people focused on 180
DNA variants previously linked to normal height differences.40% of the DNA
variants showed a significant effect on height in tall people.
The findings appeared in
the journal Human Genetics.
The study wasn't as
accurate as past research that used DNA to predict eye colour, hair colour and
age, study leader Professor Manfred Kayser said in a journal news release.
"[Still], I expect
that upcoming new knowledge on height genetics will further increase the
accuracy in predicting tall stature, and eventually the full range of body
height, from DNA," said Kayser, a member of the department of forensic
molecular biology at Erasmus University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands.
That could help police when
they're trying to identify suspects in crimes.
DNA-based prediction of appearance traits such as height, eye colour, hair colour
and age, is useful to find unknown perpetrators whose conventional DNA profiles
are not known to the investigating authorities and who thus escape current DNA
identification," Kayser said.
There are also medical
benefits for children with certain growth issues, said study co-author
Professor Stenvert Drop, of the Erasmus University Medical Centre’s department
of extreme body height is relevant in paediatrics to estimate the expected body
height of a child in adulthood, which can assist in considering growth-limiting
treatment," Drop said in the news release.
The US Centres for Disease
Control and Prevention website includes children's growth charts.