Presentation, heritability, and genome-wide linkage analysis of the midchildhood growth spurt in healthy children from the Fels Longitudinal Study

Bradford Towne, Kimberly D. Williams, John Blangero, Stefan A. Czerwinski, Ellen W. Demerath, Ramzi W. Nahhas, Thomas D. Dyer, Shelley A. Cole, Miryoung Lee, Audrey C. Choh, Dana L. Duren, Richard J. Sherwood, William Cameron Chumlea, Roger M. Siervogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Growth is a complex process composed of distinct phases over the course of childhood. Although the pubertal growth spurt has received the most attention from auxologists and pediatricians, the midchildhood growth spurt has been less well studied. The midchildhood growth spurt refers to a relatively small increase in growth velocity observed in some, but not necessarily all, children in early to middle childhood. If present, the midchildhood growth spurt typically occurs sometime between the ages of 4 and 8 years, well before the onset of the far more pronounced pubertal growth spurt. In this study we used a triple logistic curve-fitting method to fit individual growth curves to serial stature data from 579 healthy participants in the Fels Longitudinal Study, 479 of whom have been genotyped for about 400 short tandem repeat (STR) markers spanning the genome. We categorized individuals according to the presence or absence of a midchildhood growth spurt and then conducted heritability and genome-wide linkage analyses on the dichotomous trait. In the total sample of 579 individuals, 336 (58%) were found to have evidence of having had a midchildhood growth spurt. There was a marked sex difference in presence of the midchildhood growth spurt, however, with 232 of the 293 males (79%) having had a midchildhood growth spurt but just 104 of the 286 females (36%) having had one. Presence of a midchildhood growth spurt was found to have a significant heritability of 0.37 ± 0.14 (p = 0.003). Two quantitative trait loci with suggestive LOD scores were found: one at 12 cM on chromosome 17p13.2 (LOD = 2.13) between markers D17S831 and D17S938 and one at 85 cM on chromosome 12q14 (LOD = 2.06) between markers D12S83 and D12S326.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-636
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008


  • Fels longitudinal study
  • Heritability
  • Linkage
  • Midchildhood growth spurt


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