Genetic analysis of blood molecular phenotypes reveals common properties in the regulatory networks affecting complex traits
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Brown, A. A.
Fernandez-Tajes, J. J.
Hong, M. G.
Brorsson, C. A.
Koivula, R. W.
Michalettou, T. D.
Forgie, I. M.
© 2023. Springer Nature Limited.
We evaluate the shared genetic regulation of mRNA molecules, proteins and metabolites derived from whole blood from 3029 human donors. We find abundant allelic heterogeneity, where multiple variants regulate a particular molecular phenotype, and pleiotropy, where a single variant associates with multiple molecular phenotypes over multiple genomic regions. The highest proportion of share genetic regulation is detected between gene expression and proteins (66.6%), with a further median shared genetic associations across 49 different tissues of 78.3% and 62.4% between plasma proteins and gene expression. We represent the genetic and molecular associations in networks including 2828 known GWAS variants, showing that GWAS variants are more often connected to gene expression in trans than other molecular phenotypes in the network. Our work provides a roadmap to understanding molecular networks and deriving the underlying mechanism of action of GWAS variants using different molecular phenotypes in an accessible tissue.
Brown AA, Fernandez-Tajes JJ, Hong MG, Brorsson CA, Koivula RW, Davtian D, et al. Genetic analysis of blood molecular phenotypes reveals common properties in the regulatory networks affecting complex traits. Nature communications. 2023;14(1):5062.
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