Bone size, which has strong genetic determination, is an important determinant of bone strength and a risk factor of osteoporotic fractures. We previously reported an approximately 10-cm genome-wide linkage scan in 630 subjects from 53 US Caucasian pedigrees. The strongest evidence of linkage was obtained on chromosome 17q22 near the marker D17S787, with a two-point LOD score of 3.98 and a multipoint maximum LOD score (MLS) of 3.01. Additionally, suggestive linkages (1.54 <MLS <2.83) were found at the other four chromosomal regions. In the present study, with an attempt to further examine our previous findings, we perform a follow-up linkage analysis in an expanded sample of 79 pedigrees with 1816 subjects. The total sample contains >80,000 informative relative pairs for linkage analyses, including 3846 sib pairs. Fifteen markers covering the above five promising regions are genotyped, narrowing the average genomic distance from approximately 10 to 5 cm. In the total 79 pedigrees, support of linkage was achieved for the wrist bone size at 17q22 with a two-point LOD score of 2.27 (P = 0.0006) and MLS of 1.78 (P = 0.002). The genomic region 17q22 includes COL1A1, a strong candidate gene that is significantly associated with osteoporotic fracture risk. Our data suggest that this region is promising for further exploratory studies.
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