23andMe announced results from the first study to identify genetic variants associated with motion sickness, appearing in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.
Previous research has suggested that up to 70% of variation in risk for motion sickness may be linked to genetics. Over 80,000 23andMe individuals from the 23andMe database were surveyed on their degree of car sickness on a scale of 0 (never motion sick), 1 (occasionally), 2 (sometimes), or 3 (frequently). All analyses were controlled for age, sex, and five principal components of genetic ancestry. Thirty-five genetic factors associated with motion sickness at a genome-wide significant level were identified, with many of these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near genes involved in balance, and eye, ear, and cranial development. Additional SNPs may influence motion sickness via nearby genes with roles in the nervous system, glucose homeostasis, or hypoxia; several SNPs show sex-specific effects, with up to three times stronger effects seen in women.
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These results also confirmed prior study findings that linked motion sickness with migraines, vertigo, morning sickness, postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), as well as new phenotypic associations between motion sickness and altitude sickness plus many gastrointestinal conditions.
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