Long, et al_2017_Nature Genetics_Whole-genome
Blood metabolites vary widely across individuals, and this variation arises as a result of many factors, such as genetic and environmental exposure differences among individuals. In fact, the blood metabolite profile can act as a unique identifier of an individual through time. This feature evidences the high genetic heritability of a large number of metabolic products—a property that in turn reflects the genetic diversity of genes that encode enzymes, metabolite transporters and regulators of metabolism.
Many researchers have sought to identify individual genetic variants that influence metabolite levels to provide insight into the molecular processes influencing disease pathogenesis. In fact, the quantitative nature and accurate measurement of metabolic traits have resulted in the successful mapping of loci and causal genes influencing a number of metabolites.