Being slim and being tall sometimes go hand in hand and there may actually be a genetic link between the two, a new study suggests.
According to Matthew Robinson of the University of Queensland in Australia, based on the results of a study, people who are tall are genetically more likely to be slim.
In the study, the researchers looked at data collected from previous genetic studies that tried to find a link between the people’s genomes and their physical characteristics (for instance height).
After analysing the data, the researchers predicted the body mass index (BMI) and height of about 9,400 people who lived in fourteen different countries in Europe. All of this was based only on genetic information, Robinson stated.
The results showed that the people whose genes lead to them growing taller, also had more genes that made them have a lower body mass index (BMI).
In order to figure out how much the height and slimness of a person was influence by genetics, the researchers looked at whether the genetic differences were related to the average height and body mass index of the people in each of the fourteen countries.
“We found that genetic differences between countries provide some explanation for national differences in height,” Robinson stated.
According to the researchers, the genes that differed from one region to the other may account for 8 percent of the of the genetic variation in body mass index (BMI), and approximately 24 percent of the genetic variation when it comes to height.
Because the percentages that come from genetic variation are quite low, it means that the body mass index (BMI) is determined nationwide mainly by the environmental factors, the researchers said. That means that lifestyle and diet have more to do with the differences in body mass index (BMI) that genetics.
However, the genetic differences between countries were much bigger than expected. It is possible that these difference are the outcome of the natural selection that occurred at some point in the past. What is interesting is that the stronger genetic features (that were more likely to survive in the past) are different in Northern Europe compared to the Mediterranean, Robinson said.
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