Gu Zhu's research while affiliated with Queensland Institute of Medical Research and other places

Publications (174)

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Reading Disability (RD) is often characterized by difficulties in the phonology of the language. While the molecular mechanisms underlying it are largely undetermined, loci are being revealed by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In a previous GWAS for word reading (Price, 2020), we observed that top single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were...
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Reading and writing are crucial life skills but roughly one in ten children are affected by dyslexia, which can persist into adulthood. Family studies of dyslexia suggest heritability up to 70%, yet few convincing genetic markers have been found. Here we performed a genome-wide association study of 51,800 adults self-reporting a dyslexia diagnosis...
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Biomarkers may be useful endophenotypes for genetic studies if they share genetic sources of variation with the outcome, for example, with all-cause mortality. Australian adult study participants who had reported their parental survival information were included in the study: 14,169 participants had polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genotyping and u...
Preprint
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The use of spoken and written language is a capacity that is unique to humans. Individual differences in reading- and language-related skills are influenced by genetic variation, with twin-based heritability estimates of 30-80%, depending on the trait. The relevant genetic architecture is complex, heterogeneous, and multifactorial, and yet to be in...
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The use of spoken and written language is a fundamental human capacity. Individual differences in reading- and language-related skills are influenced by genetic variation, with twin-based heritability estimates of 30 to 80% depending on the trait. The genetic architecture is complex, heterogeneous, and multifactorial, but investigations of contribu...
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Objective Genetic factors underpin the narrow intraindividual variability of thyroid function, although precise contributions of environmental versus genetic factors remain uncertain. We sought to clarify the heritability of thyroid function traits and thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) positivity and identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs...
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Smoking behaviors, including amount smoked, smoking cessation, and tobacco-related diseases, are altered by the rate of nicotine clearance. Nicotine clearance can be estimated using the nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) (ratio of 3′hydroxycotinine/cotinine), but only in current smokers. Advancing the genomics of this highly heritable biomarker of CYP...
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Context Circulating concentrations of free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), and thyrotropin (TSH) are partly heritable traits. Recent studies have advanced knowledge of their genetic architecture. Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation (DNAm), may be important in pituitary-thyroid axis regulation and action, but data are lim...
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Previous genetic studies on hair morphology focused on the overall morphology of the hair using data collected by self-report or researcher observation. Here, we present the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of a micro-level quantitative measure of hair curvature. We compare these results to GWAS results obtained using a macro-level classi...
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Scores on an optimistic-pessimistic personality scale have been associated with mortality, but optimism and pessimism scores are separable traits and it is unclear which has effects on health or longevity. The Life Orientation Test (LOT), containing items for optimism and pessimism, was included in a twin study on health of Australians aged over 50...
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Vitamin D deficiency is a candidate risk factor for a range of adverse health outcomes. In a genome-wide association study of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentration in 417,580 Europeans we identify 143 independent loci in 112 1-Mb regions, providing insights into the physiology of vitamin D and implicating genes involved in lipid and lipoprotein...
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One of Nick’s key early achievements at QIMR was to establish a twin study on melanoma risk factors. The Brisbane Twin Nevus Study (BTNS) had an initial focus on nevus (mole) count in adolescents but, reflecting Nick’s broad interests, expanded in scope enormously over the decades. In the skin cancer arena, BTNS was essential to genetic discoveries...
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Vitamin D deficiency is a candidate risk factor for a range of adverse health outcomes. In a genome-wide association study of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) concentration in 417,580 Europeans we identified 143 independent loci in 112 1-Mb regions providing new insights into the physiology of vitamin D and implicating genes involved in (a) lipid and li...
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This study assessed the heritability of 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) in a large twin cohort and the shared effect of sun exposure and skin colour on 25(OH)D3 variance. Study participants included 1604 twin pairs and their siblings (n = 4020). Twin correlations for 25(OH)D3 concentration were rMZ=0.79 (584 pairs) and rDZ = 0.52 (1020 pairs) consi...
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Background: Individual differences in human perception of sweetness are partly due to genetics; however, which genes are associated with the perception and the consumption of sweet substances remains unclear. Objective: The aim of this study was to verify previous reported associations within genes involved in the peripheral receptor systems (i....
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The aim of the present study was to examine the cross-cultural differences in the relationship between personality traits and neurasthenia across early adolescence. The participants were from Australia and China. Adolescents’ personality was measured by the Junior Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and neurasthenia was measured by the Somatic and P...
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The original version of this Article contained errors in the spelling of the authors Fan Liu and M. Arfan Ikram, which were incorrectly given as Fan Lui and Arfan M. Ikram. In addition, the original version of this Article also contained errors in the author affiliations which are detailed in the associated Publisher Correction.
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects ~10% of the global population, with considerable ethnic differences in prevalence and aetiology. We assemble genome-wide association studies of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function that defines CKD, in 312,468 individuals of diverse ancestry. We identify 127 distinct associat...
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The total number of acquired melanocytic nevi on the skin is strongly correlated with melanoma risk. Here we report a meta-analysis of 11 nevus GWAS from Australia, Netherlands, UK, and USA comprising 52,506 individuals. We confirm known loci including MTAP, PLA2G6, and IRF4, and detect novel SNPs in KITLG and a region of 9q32. In a bivariate analy...
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C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 100...
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects ~10% of the global population, with considerable ethnic differences in prevalence and aetiology. We assembled genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function that defines CKD, in 312,468 individuals from four ancestry groups. We identified 93 lo...
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Background: Human perception of bitter substances is partially genetically determined. Previously we discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the cluster of bitter taste receptor genes on chromosome 12 that accounts for 5.8% of the variance in the perceived intensity rating of quinine, and we strengthened the classic association be...
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Objective: Two widely studied genetic polymorphisms in the dopaminergic system [DRD4 exon III variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) and COMT Val158Met] have been reported to be associated with novelty-seeking, but the results have been highly inconsistent. Therefore, a meta-analysis of the associations between these two polymorphisms and novelty...
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The extent to which correlations between personality domains and physical and psychological health generalize cross-culturally is unclear. We compared the strength of associations between the personality domains and somatic and psychological distress in Chinese (N = 2069) and a genetically informative sample of Australian (N = 2936) adolescents. We...
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The skin's tendency to sunburn rather than tan is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Here we report a large genome-wide association study of ease of skin tanning in 176,678 subjects of European ancestry. We identify significant association with tanning ability at 20 loci. We confirm previously identified associations at six of these loci, and rep...
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Hair color is one of the most recognizable visual traits in European populations and is under strong genetic control. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of almost 300,000 participants of European descent. We identified 123 autosomal and one X-chromosome loci significantly associated with hair color; all but...
Preprint
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Human perception of bitter substances is partially genetically determined. Previously we discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the bitter taste receptor gene TAS2R19 on chromosome 12 that accounts for 5.8% of the variance in the perceived intensity rating of quinine, and we strengthened the classic association between TAS2R38 gen...
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The human face represents a combined set of highly heritable phenotypes, but knowledge on its genetic architecture remains limited, despite the relevance for various fields. A series of genome-wide association studies on 78 facial shape phenotypes quantified from 3-dimensional facial images of 10,115 Europeans identified 24 genetic loci reaching st...
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Shape variation of human head hair shows striking variation within and between human populations, while its genetic basis is far from being understood. We performed a series of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) and replication studies in a total of 28,964 subjects from 9 cohorts from multiple geographic origins. A meta-analysis of three Europ...
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Hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is a promising measure of long-term hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity. Previous research has suggested an association between HCC and psychological variables, and initial studies of inter-individual variance in HCC have implicated genetic factors. However, whether HCC and psychological variables sh...
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Acne vulgaris is a skin disease with a multifactorial and complex pathology. While several twin studies have estimated that acne has a heritability of up to 80%, the genomic elements responsible for the origin and pathology of acne are still undiscovered. Here we performed a twin-based structural equation model, using available data on acne severit...
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Adult height is the most widely genetically studied common trait in humans; however, the trait variance explainable by currently known height-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified from the previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is yet far from complete given the high heritability of this complex trait. To exam if com...
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Loss of fine skin patterning is a sign of both aging and photoaging. Studies investigating the genetic contribution to skin patterning offer an opportunity to better understand a trait that influences both physical appearance and risk of keratinocyte skin cancer. We undertook a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of a measure of...
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Objectives: Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychiatric disorder with high mortality rates. While its aetiology is poorly understood, there is evidence of a significant genetic component. The Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative is an international collaboration which aims to understand the genetic basis of the disorder. This paper describes the recr...
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Background: Alcohol Dependence (AD) shows evidence for genetic liability, but genes influencing risk remain largely unidentified. Methods: We conducted a genomewide association study in 706 related AD cases and 1748 unscreened population controls from Ireland. We sought replication in 15,496 samples of European descent. We used model organisms t...
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The purpose of the present study was to do a psychometric evaluation of the somatic and psychological health report (SPHERE) among Chinese adolescents. Our participants were 116 twins (50 females). Psychometric evaluation indicated that the reliability and validity of this scale were good. The internal consistencies and split-half reliabilities of...