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May 23, 2018
Population studies elucidating the genetic architecture of reproductive ageing have been largely limited to European ancestries, restricting the generalizability of the findings and overlooking possible key genes poorly captured by common European genetic variation. Here, we report 26 loci (all P < 5 × 10-8) for reproductive ageing, i.e. puberty timing or age at menopause, in a non-European population (up to 67,029 women of Japanese ancestry). Highlighted genes for menopause include GNRH1, which supports a primary, rather than passive, role for hypothalamic-pituitary GnRH signalling in the timing of menopause. For puberty timing, we demonstrate an aetiological role for receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatases by combining evidence across population genetics and pre- and peri-pubertal changes in hypothalamic gene expression in rodent and primate models. Furthermore, our findings demonstrate widespread differences in allele frequencies and effect estimates between Japanese and European associated variants, highlighting the benefits and challenges of large-scale trans-ethnic approaches.