medRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 May 18:2024.05.17.24307550. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.17.24307550.


Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been predominantly conducted in populations of European ancestry, limiting opportunities for biological discovery in diverse populations. We report GWAS findings from 153,950 individuals across 36 quantitative traits in the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II (KCPS2) Biobank. We discovered 616 novel genetic loci in KCPS2, including an association between thyroid-stimulating hormone and CD36. Meta-analysis with the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, Biobank Japan, Taiwan Biobank, and UK Biobank identified 3,524 loci that were not significant in any contributing GWAS. We describe differences in genetic architectures across these East Asian and European samples. We also highlight East Asian specific associations, including a known pleiotropic missense variant in ALDH2, which fine-mapping identified as a likely causal variant for a diverse set of traits. Our findings provide insights into the genetic architecture of complex traits in East Asian populations and highlight how broadening the population diversity of GWAS samples can aid discovery.

PMID:38798434 | PMC:PMC11118625 | DOI:10.1101/2024.05.17.24307550