How tall or short a person becomes is 80 percent genetic

How tall or short a person becomes is estimated to be 80 percent genetic, with nutrition and other environmental factors accounting for the rest. The world’s people on average have become taller over the past few generations because of factors including improved nutrition.

“We study height for two main reasons,” said Dr. Joel Hirschhorn, a geneticist and pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

“For over 100 years, it’s 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,” he said.In addition, short stature in childhood is a major clinical issue for pediatric endocrinologists. Knowing genes and their variants that are important for height eventually may help doctors diagnose children who have a single major underlying cause for short stature, Hirschhorn added.