We propose a method (GREML-LDMS) to estimate heritability for human complex traits in unrelated individuals using whole-genome sequencing data. We demonstrate using simulations based on whole-genome sequencing data that similar to 97% and similar to 68% of variation at common and rare variants, respectively, can be captured by imputation. Using the GREML-LDMS method, we estimate from 44,126 unrelated individuals that all similar to 17 million imputed variants explain 56% (standard error (s.e.) = 2.3%) of variance for height and 27% (s.e. = 2.5%) of variance for body mass index (BMI), and we find evidence that height- and BMI-associated variants have been under natural selection. Considering the imperfect tagging of imputation and potential overestimation of heritability from previous family-based studies, heritability is likely to be 60-70% for height and 30-40% for BMI. Therefore, the missing heritability is small for both traits. For further discovery of genes associated with complex traits, a study design with SNP arrays followed by imputation is more cost-effective than whole-genome sequencing at current prices.
Esko, TonuUniv Tartu, Estonian Genome Ctr, EE-50090 Tartu, Estonia.;Boston Childrens Hosp, Div Endocrinol, Cambridge, MA USA.;Broad Inst, Program Med & Populat Genet, Cambridge, MA USA.;Harvard Univ, Sch Med, Dept Genet, Boston, MA USA.
Milani, LiliUniv Tartu, Estonian Genome Ctr, EE-50090 Tartu, Estonia.
Maegi, ReedikUniv Tartu, Estonian Genome Ctr, EE-50090 Tartu, Estonia.