Nicola Pirastu

Nicola Pirastu
The University of Edinburgh | UoE

Biological Sciences

About

206
Publications
51,233
Reads
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9,613
Citations
Citations since 2017
88 Research Items
7780 Citations
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Additional affiliations
May 2016 - present
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • Chancellor's Fellow
April 2016 - October 2016
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • Chancellor's Fellow
January 2013 - present

Publications

Publications (206)
Preprint
Full-text available
Bile acids are essential for food digestion and nutrient absorption, but also act as signalling molecules involved in hepatobiliary diseases, gastrointestinal disorders and carcinogenesis. While many studies have focused on the genetic determinants of blood metabolites, research focusing specifically on genetic regulation of bile acids in the gener...
Article
The complex interplay between genetics, culture, and environment forms an individual’s biology, influencing their behavior, choices, and health. However, to what extent information derived from this intertwined network could be quantitatively summarized to provide a glance at an individual’s lifestyle is difficult to say. Here, we focused on dietar...
Preprint
Full-text available
While large-scale volunteer-based studies such as the UK Biobank (UKBB) have become the cornerstone of genetic epidemiology, the study participants are rarely representative of their target population. Here, we aim to evaluate the impact of non-random participation in the UKBB, and to pin down areas of research that are particularly susceptible to...
Article
Background Consumption of nicotine, alcohol and cannabis commonly co-occurs, which is thought to partly stem from a common heritable liability to substance involvement. Methods To elucidate its genetic architecture, we modelled a common liability, inferred from genetic correlations among six measures of dependence and frequency of use of nicotine,...
Article
Full-text available
Diet is considered as one of the most important modifiable factors influencing human health, but efforts to identify foods or dietary patterns associated with health outcomes often suffer from biases, confounding, and reverse causation. Applying Mendelian randomization in this context may provide evidence to strengthen causality in nutrition resear...
Article
Full-text available
We present the results of a GWAS of food liking conducted on 161,625 participants from the UK-Biobank. Liking was assessed over 139 specific foods using a 9-point scale. Genetic correlations coupled with structural equation modelling identified a multi-level hierarchical map of food-liking with three main dimensions: “Highly-palatable”, “Acquired”...
Preprint
Full-text available
Lung function impairment underlies chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and predicts mortality. In the largest multi-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis of lung function to date, comprising 580,869 participants, 1020 independent association signals identified 559 genes supported by ≥2 criteria from a systematic variant-to-gene mapping framework. Th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Genetically predicted levels of multi-omic traits can uncover the molecular underpinnings of common phenotypes in a highly efficient manner. Here, we utilised a large cohort (INTERVAL; N=50,000 participants) with extensive multi-omic data for plasma proteomics (SomaScan, N=3,175; Olink, N=4,822), plasma metabolomics (Metabolon HD4, N=8,153), serum...
Article
Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of COVID-19, enters human cells using the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein as a receptor. ACE2 is thus key to the infection and treatment of the coronavirus. ACE2 is highly expressed in the heart, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, play...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: A lack of physical activity (PA) is one of the most pressing health issues today. Our individual propensity for PA is influenced by genetic factors. Stated liking of different PA types may help capture additional and informative dimensions of PA behavior genetics. Methods: In over 157,000 individuals from the UK Biobank, we perform...
Preprint
Full-text available
Response to survey questionnaires is vital for social and behavioral research, and most analyses assume full and accurate response by survey participants. However, nonresponse is common and impedes proper interpretation and generalizability of results. We examined item nonresponse behavior across 109 questionnaire items from the UK Biobank (UKB) (N...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Stroke in UK Biobank (UKB) is ascertained via linkages to coded administrative datasets and self-report. We studied the accuracy of these codes using genetic validation. Methods: We compiled stroke-specific and broad cerebrovascular disease (CVD) code lists (Read V2/V3, ICD-9/-10) for medical settings (hospital, death record, primary...
Article
Background and Aims Cardiometabolic disorders (CMD) arise from a constellation of features such as increased adiposity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and compromised glucose control. Many genetic loci have shown associations with individual CMD-related traits, but no investigations have focused on simultaneously identifying loci showing associations...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background and Aims: Cardiometabolic disorders (CMD) arise from a constellation of features such as increased adiposity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and compromised glucose control. Many genetic loci have shown associations with individual CMD-related traits, but no investigations have focused on simultaneously identifying loci showing association...
Article
Full-text available
p>This is a correction notice for article bjaa041 (DOI: https:// doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjaa041), published 20 June 2020. An incorrect version of the caption to Figure 5 was mistakenly included in the published paper. An updated version is given below. Neither the data nor the paper's conclusions were affected by this correction. The authors sincer...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrition plays an important role in the development and progress of several health conditions, but the exact mechanism is often still unclear. Blood metabolites are likely candidates to be mediating these relationships, as their levels are strongly dependent on the frequency of consumption of several foods/drinks. Understanding the causal effect o...
Preprint
Full-text available
A lack of physical activity (PA) is one of the most pressing health issues facing society today. Our individual propensity for PA is partly influenced by genetic factors. Stated liking of various PA behaviors may capture additional dimensions of PA behavior that are not captured by other measures, and contribute to our understanding of the genetics...
Preprint
Variable preferences for different foods are among the main determinants of their intake and are influenced by many factors, including genetics. Despite considerable twins' heritability, studies aimed at uncovering food-liking genetics have focused mostly on taste receptors. Here, we present the first results of a large-scale genome-wide associatio...
Article
Background: Lung function is highly heritable and differs between the sexes throughout life. However, little is known about sex-differential genetic effects on lung function. We aimed to conduct the first genome-wide genotype-by-sex interaction study on lung function to identify genetic effects that differ between males and females. Methods: We tes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Severe COVID-19 is characterised by immunopathology and epithelial injury. Proteomic studies have identified circulating proteins that are biomarkers of severe COVID-19, but cannot distinguish correlation from causation. To address this, we performed Mendelian randomisation (MR) to identify proteins that mediate severe COVID-19. Using protein quant...
Article
Genetic association results are often interpreted with the assumption that study participation does not affect downstream analyses. Understanding the genetic basis of participation bias is challenging since it requires the genotypes of unseen individuals. Here we demonstrate that it is possible to estimate comparative biases by performing a genome-...
Article
Full-text available
In a preregistered, cross-sectional study we investigated whether olfactory loss is a reliable predictor of COVID-19 using a crowdsourced questionnaire in 23 languages to assess symptoms in individuals self-reporting recent respiratory illness. We quantified changes in chemosensory abilities during the course of the respiratory illness using 0-100...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nutrition plays an important role in the development and progress of several health conditions, but the exact mechanism is often still unclear. Blood metabolites are likely candidates to be mediating these relationships, as their levels are strongly dependent on the frequency of consumption of several foods/drinks. Understanding the causal effect o...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND Human growth is susceptible to damage from insults, particularly during periods of rapid growth. Identifying those periods and the normative limits that are compatible with adequate growth and development are the first key steps towards preventing impaired growth. OBJECTIVE To construct international fetal growth velocity increment and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Now published in Chemical Senses doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjaa081. Background: COVID-19 has heterogeneous manifestations, though one of the most common symptoms is a sudden loss of smell (anosmia or hyposmia). We investigated whether olfactory loss is a reliable predictor of COVID-19. Methods: This preregistered, cross-sectional study used a crowdsou...
Article
Full-text available
Recent anecdotal and scientific reports have provided evidence of a link between COVID-19 and chemosensory impairments such as anosmia. However, these reports have downplayed or failed to distinguish potential effects on taste, ignored chemesthesis, and generally lacked quantitative measurements. Here, we report the development, implementation and...
Article
Background: Lung function is highly heritable and differs between the sexes throughout life. However, little is known about sex-differential genetic effects on lung function. We aimed to conduct the first genome-wide genotype-by-sex interaction study on lung function to identify genetic effects that differ between males and females. Methods: We tes...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives To describe the construction of the international INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Assessment (INTER-NDA) standards for child development at 2 years by reporting the cognitive, language, motor and behaviour outcomes in optimally healthy and nourished children in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. Design Population-based cohort study, the IN...
Preprint
Full-text available
Now published in Chemical Senses doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjaa041. Recent anecdotal and scientific reports have provided evidence of a link between COVID-19 and chemosensory impairments such as anosmia. However, these reports have downplayed or failed to distinguish potential effects on taste, ignored chemesthesis, generally lacked quantitative measure...
Article
Full-text available
We studied neurodevelopmental outcomes and behaviours in healthy 2-year old children (N = 1306) from Brazil, India, Italy, Kenya and the UK participating in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. There was a positive independent relationship of duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and age at weaning with gross motor development, vision and autonomic ph...
Preprint
Full-text available
Genetic association results are often interpreted with the assumption that study participation does not affect downstream analyses. Understanding the genetic basis of this participation bias is challenging as it requires the genotypes of unseen individuals. However, we demonstrate that it is possible to estimate comparative biases by performing GWA...
Article
Full-text available
Recent anecdotal and scientific reports have provided evidence of a link between COVID-19 and chemosensory impairments such as anosmia. However, these reports have downplayed or failed to distinguish potential effects on taste, ignored chemesthesis, and generally lacked quantitative measurements. Here, we report the development, implementation and...
Article
Rationale & objective: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with limited strategies for prevention and treatment. Coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals, and consumption has been associated with mostly beneficial health outcomes. This work aimed to determine the impact of coffee consumption on kid...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite food choices being one of the most important factors influencing health, efforts to identify individual food groups and dietary patterns that cause disease have been challenging, with traditional nutritional epidemiological approaches plagued by biases and confounding. After identifying 302 (289 novel) individual genetic determinants of die...
Article
Full-text available
In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding...
Preprint
Full-text available
Adult lung function is highly heritable and 279 genetic loci were recently reported as associated with spirometry-based measures of lung function. Though lung development and function differ between males and females throughout life, there has been no genome-wide study to identify genetic variants with differential effects on lung function in males...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Knowledge about how a lactating woman's diet influences the composition of her breast milk is still very limited. In particular, no study has evaluated the role of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on human milk characteristics. Aim: We carried out an observational study to investigate the influence of mother adherence to a Mediterr...
Article
Full-text available
It is unclear whether early child development is, like skeletal growth, similar across diverse regions with adequate health and nutrition. We prospectively assessed 1307 healthy, well-nourished 2-year-old children of educated mothers, enrolled in early pregnancy from urban areas without major socioeconomic or environmental constraints, in Brazil, I...
Article
Background and objective: Periodontitis in one of the most prevalent dental diseases. Despite numerous studies have investigated its aetiopathogenetic factors, few works have focused on its genetic predisposition and most of them took into account only candidate genes. Therefore, we conducted a Genome Wide Association Study in an Italian isolated...
Article
Full-text available
We have been alerted that in our recent Article the calculations used to transform the heritability from the observed scale to the liability scale did not take into account the individuals in category 2 of the baldness scale, who were removed in our original analysis. This led to an overestimation of the heritability on the liability scale, which s...
Article
Full-text available
Male pattern baldness (MPB) or androgenetic alopecia is one of the most common conditions affecting men, reaching a prevalence of ~50% by the age of 50; however, the known genes explain little of the heritability. Here, we present the results of a genome-wide association study including more than 70,000 men, identifying 71 independently replicated...
Article
Full-text available
Genomic analysis of longevity offers the potential to illuminate the biology of human aging. Here, using genome-wide association meta-analysis of 606,059 parents' survival, we discover two regions associated with longevity (HLA-DQA1/DRB1 and LPA). We also validate previous suggestions that APOE, CHRNA3/5, CDKN2A/B, SH2B3 and FOXO3A influence longev...
Article
Genomic analysis of longevity offers the potential to illuminate the biology of human aging. Here, using genome-wide association meta-analysis of 606,059 parents’ survival, we discover two regions associated with longevity (HLA-DQA1/DRB1 and LPA). We also validate previous suggestions that APOE, CHRNA3/5, CDKN2A/B, SH2B3 and FOXO3A influence longev...