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Do height and BMI affect human capital formation? Natural experimental evidence from DNA

Friday 12 June 2020, 2.00PM to 3.00pm

Speaker(s): Neil Davies, University of Bristol

Abstract: Estimates from Mendelian randomization studies of unrelated individuals can be biased due to uncontrolled confounding from familial effects. Here we describe methods for within-family Mendelian randomization analyses and use simulation studies to show that family-based analyses can reduce such biases. We illustrate empirically how familial effects can affect estimates using data from 61,008 siblings from the Nord-Tr√łndelag Health Study and UK Biobank and replicated our findings using 222,368 siblings from 23andMe. Both Mendelian randomization estimates using unrelated individuals and within family methods reproduced established effects of lower BMI reducing risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. However, while Mendelian randomization estimates from samples of unrelated individuals suggested that taller height and lower BMI increase educational attainment, these effects were strongly attenuated in within-family Mendelian randomization analyses. Our findings indicate the necessity of controlling for population structure and familial effects in Mendelian randomization studies.

Location: Zoom presentation

Withinfamily che presentation_200609 from cheweb1

Who to contact

For more information on these seminars, contact:

Adrian Villasenor
Adrian Villasenor-Lopez
Dacheng Huo
Dacheng Huo

If you are not a member of University of York staff and are interested in attending the seminar, please contact Adrian Villasenor-Lopez or Dacheng Huo so that we can ensure we have sufficient space

CHE Seminar Programme

  • Friday 2 December
    Sean D. Sullivan, University of Washington

Map showing Location Details (PDF , 297kb)