Posts Tagged ‘Height’

Why is Hillary Clinton’s height still a mystery?

September 15, 2016

clintons vital statistics – daily mail

Why is Hillary Clinton’s height such a mystery? Is it 5’5″ or 5’7″? Why should it matter?

After her fainting fit on Sunday at the 9/11 commemoration, and the revelations about her pneumonia, she has now released some information about her various medical conditions.

But not her height and weight.

I observed this exactly a year ago:

Hillary Clinton is still growing.

Back in 2008, she was 5’5″ tall. But she has now reached 5’7″ according to most media and internet sources and, above all, Google. Her campaign has released some of her medical records but is silent about her height. Questions about her height are not answered. …….. So, 5’5″ should be nothing to be so ashamed of. Queen Victoria was only 5′ tall. Queen Elizabeth I was between 5’3″ and 5’5″. And Carly Fiorina with heels is at 5’6″.

No change in the secrecy about her height since a year ago.

Of course one reason could be that it makes it easier to get away with using a “body double” who is actually a different height. Just another conspiracy theory perhaps.

But anybody hearing her coughing fits and observing her behaviour last Sunday, will conclude that a cover-up about her health is continuing. They may well also conclude that the “health conspiracy theory” is turning out to be true.

The body-double theory is a little more far fetched – at least at first sight. Certainly the photographs taken at the 9/11 ceremony and those taken later in the afternoon show a recovery bordering on the incredible and provide much fuel for the “body double” conspiracy. The Clinton campaign’s secrecy around her height also supports the use – perhaps for quite some time – of a body-double. One wonders if the double goes so far as take some of the medical tests when required.


Now Hillary Clinton reaches for “average” as 5′ 5″ morphs to 5′ 7″


Gene mixing promotes height and intelligence – but is this an evolutionary benefit?

July 2, 2015

A new international study of the genetic make up and physical characteristics of 350,000 people indicates that greater genetic diversity leads to an increase of height and cognitive skills. But – somewhat surprisingly – lower genetic diversity did not lead to any visible increase in complex diseases. Genetic diversity was found to have no effect on blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

But I question the assumption that increased height and faster thinking are of “evolutionary advantage”. Evolutionary advantage must lead to an individual having a greater number of offspring than one without the advantage. Previous work has indicated that both child nourishment and genetics determine height.

And so I wonder what evolutionary advantage height may have in modern society? Does the ability to think faster lead to a greater number of surviving descendants? Richer and “more intelligent” groups tend to have much lower fertility rates than poorer, “less intelligent” groups.

Using the criterion of greatest surviving descendants indicating evolutionary advantage, leads to the conclusion that populations in Africa with the highest population increase rates must also have the greatest evolutionary advantages!

Peter K. Joshi et al. Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations. Nature, 2015 DOI: 10.1038/nature14618

Abstract: Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders, and Darwin was one of the first to recognize that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness that is common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power. Here we use runs of homozygosity to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts, and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in one second, general cognitive ability and educational attainment (P < 1 × 10−300, 2.1 × 10−6, 2.5 × 10−10 and 1.8 × 10−10, respectively).

University of Edinburgh Press Release:

People have evolved to be smarter and taller than their predecessors, a study of populations around the world suggests. Those who are born to parents from diverse genetic backgrounds tend to be taller and have sharper thinking skills than others, the major international study has found. Researchers analysed health and genetic information from more than 100 studies carried out around the world. These included details on more than 350,000 people from urban and rural communities.

The team found that greater genetic diversity is linked to increased height. It is also associated with better cognitive skills, as well as higher levels of education. However, genetic diversity had no effect on factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, which affect a person’s chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other complex conditions.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh examined individuals’ entire genetic make-up.

They pinpointed instances in which people had inherited identical copies of genes from both their mother and their father – an indicator that their ancestors were related. Where few instances of this occur in a person’s genes, it indicates greater genetic diversity in their heritage and the two sides of their family are unlikely to be distantly related. It had been thought that close family ties would raise a person’s risk of complex diseases but the researchers found this not to be the case.

The only traits they found to be affected by genetic diversity are height and the ability to think quickly.


Height is 80% nature (genetics) and 20% nurture

October 5, 2014

A DNA study of more than 250,000 people has doubled the number of identified genetic factors which determine height to around 700 variants in over 400 genome regions. But the factors identified so far may be only 20% of the genetic factors which apply.


A study which examined data on DNA from more than 250,000 people, published on October 6 in Nature Genetics, roughly doubles the number of known genome regions involved in height to more than 400. It also revealed that more than half of the factors involved in determining height are explained by simple common genetic variation – the sort of genetic variation that exists in more than 1 in 10 people.

The collaboration, co led by the University of Exeter Medical School and part-funded by the Wellcome Trust, involved more than 450 experts from well over 300 institutions in Australia, the USA and several European countries. Together, they form the aptly named GIANT consortium. The study is the largest of its kind to date. They checked more than 2 million common genetic factors – those shared by at least five per cent of participants. From this they found 697 genetic variants in 424 regions of the genome that are related to height. The findings represent a massive stride forward in an area of research in which virtually nothing was known as recently as 2007.

Professor Tim Frayling, of the University of Exeter Medical School, oversaw the study. He said: “It’s common knowledge that people born to tall parents are more likely to be tall themselves. Most of this is down to the variations in our DNA sequence that we inherit from our parents – the different versions of all our genes. In 2007 we published the first paper that identified the first common height gene, and since then the research has come on leaps and bounds. We have now identified nearly 700 genetic variants that are involved in determining height. This goes a long way towards fulfilling a scientific curiosity that could have real impact in the treatment of diseases that can be influenced by height, such as osteoporosis, cancer or heart disease. It also a step forward towards a test that may reassure parents worried that their child is not growing as well as they’d hoped – most of these children have probably simply inherited a big batch of “short genes.”

Height is determined by a very large, but finite, number of contributing factors. Genetic causes are located throughout the genome, and environmental factors such as diet also play a role. The GIANT consortium is working towards identifying the thousands of hidden factors which have varying effects in height, ranging from minute to gigantic. The results arise from analysis of DNA data on 253,288 individuals of European ancestry. The research team says increasing sample sizes of this magnitude make it far easier to find commonalities that determine traits such as size.

Lead author Dr Andrew Wood, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said: “Our findings have helped to identify a large proportion of the genetic architecture that contributes to determining our height. We know that as a population we have become taller over the last few generations, because of factors including improved nutrition. But more than 80 per cent of the factors in height variation are known to be down to genetics, with the rest caused by environmental factors. Thanks to advances in technology, we now have access to far greater quantities of DNA data. These data sets are proving to be a genetic treasure trove which has enabled us to shed light on height, and we expect to continue to make significant advances, both in this field and in other human traits. Our results suggest that massive human genetic studies, possibly into the millions, will continue to uncover all the subtle effects of our genetic variation that influence our health, behaviour, body shape and all aspects of what makes us who we are.”

Dr Joel Hirschhorn, of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is leader of the GIANT Consortium and co-senior investigator on the study. Dr Hirschhorn said: “When you double the sample size and increase your statistical power, you can make new discoveries. Our results prioritise many genes and pathways as important in skeletal growth during childhood. Without a highly collaborative model, there’s no way we could get this work done. We can now explain about 20 percent of the heritability of height, up from about 12 percent where we were before.”

Professor Peter Visscher, of the University of Queensland, Australia, said: “The study narrows down the genomic regions that contain a substantial proportion of remaining variation—to be discovered with even larger sample sizes.”

Professor Frayling said: “The genes and pathways involved in height should help facilitate future studies, and we have made them publicly available to this end. We believe that large genetic studies could yield similarly rich lists in a variety of other traits, and could generate new biological hypotheses and motivate future research into the basis of human biology and disease.”


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