Large scale phenotype imputation and in vivo functional validation implicate ADAMTS14 as an adiposity gene

Katherine A Kentistou, Jian'an Luan, Laura B L Wittemans, Catherine Hambly, Lucija Klaric, Zoltán Kutalik, John R Speakman, Nicholas J Wareham, Timothy J Kendall, Claudia Langenberg, James F Wilson, Peter K Joshi, Nicholas M Morton* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity remains an unmet global health burden. Detrimental anatomical distribution of body fat is a major driver of obesity-mediated mortality risk and is demonstrably heritable. However, our understanding of the full genetic contribution to human adiposity is incomplete, as few studies measure adiposity directly. To address this, we impute whole-body imaging adiposity phenotypes in UK Biobank from the 4,366 directly measured participants onto the rest of the cohort, greatly increasing our discovery power. Using these imputed phenotypes in 392,535 participants yielded hundreds of genome-wide significant associations, six of which replicate in independent cohorts. The leading causal gene candidate, ADAMTS14, is further investigated in a mouse knockout model. Concordant with the human association data, the Adamts14 -/- mice exhibit reduced adiposity and weight-gain under obesogenic conditions, alongside an improved metabolic rate and health. Thus, we show that phenotypic imputation at scale offers deeper biological insights into the genetics of human adiposity that could lead to therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number307
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2023


  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • ADAMTS Proteins/genetics
  • Adiposity/genetics
  • Body Mass Index
  • Genome
  • Obesity/genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Weight Gain/genetics
  • Mice, Knockout


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