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Comprehensive genomic analysis of dietary habits in UK Biobank identifies hundreds of genetic loci and establishes causal relationships between educational attainment and healthy eating

By Joanne B. Cole, Jose C Florez, Joel N. Hirschhorn

Posted 06 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/662239

Unhealthy dietary habits are leading risk factors for life-altering diseases and mortality. Large-scale biobanks now enable genetic analysis of traits with modest heritability, such as diet. We performed genomewide association on 85 single food intake and 85 principal component-derived dietary patterns from food frequency questionnaires in UK Biobank. We identified 814 associated loci, including olfactory receptor associations with fruit and tea intake; 136 associations were only identified using dietary patterns. Mendelian randomization suggests a Western vs. prudent dietary pattern is causally influenced by factors correlated with education but is not strongly causal for coronary artery disease or type 2 diabetes.

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