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International Journal of Genomics
Volume 2018, Article ID 5121540, 7 pages
Research Article

Common DNA Variants Accurately Rank an Individual of Extreme Height

1Department of Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
2Department of Neuroscience, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA
3Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
4Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
5Center for Epidemiologic Studies, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
6Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
7Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to John S. K. Kauwe; ude.uyb@ewuak

Received 28 February 2018; Accepted 6 June 2018; Published 4 September 2018

Academic Editor: Monika Dmitrzak-Weglarz

Copyright © 2018 Corinne E. Sexton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Polygenic scores (or genetic risk scores) quantify the aggregate of small effects from many common genetic loci that have been associated with a trait through genome-wide association. Polygenic scores were first used successfully in schizophrenia and have since been applied to multiple phenotypes including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and height. Because human height is an easily-measured and complex polygenic trait, polygenic height scores provide exciting insights into the predictability of aggregate common variant effect on the phenotype. Shawn Bradley is an extremely tall former professional basketball player from Brigham Young University and the National Basketball Association (NBA), measuring 2.29 meters (76, 99.99999th percentile for height) tall, with no known medical conditions. Here, we present a case where a rare combination of common SNPs in one individual results in an extremely high polygenic height score that is correlated with an extreme phenotype. While polygenic scores are not clinically significant in the average case, our findings suggest that for extreme phenotypes, polygenic scores may be more successful for the prediction of individuals.