Meta-analysis of telomere length in 19 713 subjects reveals high heritability, stronger maternal inheritance and a paternal age effect

Linda Broer, Veryan Codd, Dale R. Nyholt, Joris Deelen, Massimo Mangino, Gonneke Willemsen, Eva Albrecht, Najaf Amin, Marian Beekman, Eco J.C. De Geus, Anjali Henders, Christopher P. Nelson, Claire J. Steves, Margie J. Wright, Anton J.M. De Craen, Aaron Isaacs, Mary Matthews, Alireza Moayyeri, Grant W. Montgomery, Ben A. OostraJacqueline M. Vink, Tim D. Spector, P. Eline Slagboom, Nicholas G. Martin, Nilesh J. Samani, Cornelia M. Van Duijn, Dorret I. Boomsma

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review

348 Citaten (Scopus)


Telomere length (TL) has been associated with aging and mortality, but individual differences are also influenced by genetic factors, with previous studies reporting heritability estimates ranging from 34 to 82%. Here we investigate the heritability, mode of inheritance and the influence of parental age at birth on TL in six large, independent cohort studies with a total of 19 713 participants. The meta-analysis estimate of TL heritability was 0.70 (95% CI 0.64-0.76) and is based on a pattern of results that is highly similar for twins and other family members. We observed a stronger mother-offspring (r=0.42; P-value=3.60 × 10 -61) than father-offspring correlation (r=0.33; P-value=7.01 × 10 -5), and a significant positive association with paternal age at offspring birth (β=0.005; P-value=7.01 × 10 -5). Interestingly, a significant and quite substantial correlation in TL between spouses (r=0.25; P-value=2.82 × 10 -30) was seen, which appeared stronger in older spouse pairs (mean age ≥55 years; r=0.31; P-value=4.27 × 10 -23) than in younger pairs (mean age<55 years; r=0.20; P-value=3.24 × 10 -10). In summary, we find a high and very consistent heritability estimate for TL, evidence for a maternal inheritance component and a positive association with paternal age.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1163-1168
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
StatusGepubliceerd - okt. 2013
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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