In the most definite study of its kind, scientists have stated that they have broken the genetic codes responsible for human heights. They now better understand why some people are tall, very tall, or very short. In fact, they now also understand why one individual may be tall and his sibling from the same parent short.

A team that comprised of international researchers isolated about 700 growth gene variants that are responsible for human heights. These genes were found in over 400 gene regions that influence the growth of the human skeleton to translate to short or tall height in various individuals. It is believed that a combined 20% of all the genes determine the level of growths in individual heights.

According to a pediatric endocrinologist and geneticist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute, Dr. Joel Hirschhorn, “for over 100 years, [height has] been a great model for studying the genetics of diseases like obesity, diabetes, asthma that are also caused by the combined influence of many genes acting together. So by understanding how the genetics of height works, we can understand how the genetics of human disease works.”

The genome or DNA sequencing of 253,288 with European ancestry people across Europe, Australia, and North America had been analyzed for the study, and 697 gene variants in 424 gene regions were proven to be responsible for human heights.

Published in the journal Nature Genetics, the researchers estimate that nearly 80% of an individual’s height is tied to genetic factors and composition, while nutrition and environmental factors also have parts to play in the whole exercise.

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