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A genetic contribution to refractive error has been confirmed by the discovery of more than 150 associated variants in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Environmental factors such as education and time outdoors also demonstrate strong associations. Currently however, the extent of gene-environment or gene-gene interactions in myopia is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that refractive error-associated variants exhibit effect size heterogeneity, a hallmark feature of genetic interactions. Of 146 variants tested, evidence of non-uniform, non-linear effects were observed for 66 (45%) at Bonferroni-corrected significance (P < 1.1 × 10-4) and 128 (88%) at nominal significance (P < 0.05). LAMA2 variant rs12193446, for example, had an effect size varying from -0.20 diopters (95% CI -0.18 to -0.23) to -0.89 diopters (95% CI -0.71 to -1.07) in different individuals. SNP effects were strongest at the phenotype extremes and weaker in emmetropes. A parsimonious explanation for these findings is that gene-environment or gene-gene interactions in myopia are pervasive.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s42003-019-0387-5

Type

Journal article

Journal

Commun Biol

Publication Date

2019

Volume

2

Keywords

Genetic interaction, Refractive errors