Reduced lung function predicts mortality and is key to the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a genome-wide association study in 400,102 individuals of European ancestry, we define 279 lung function signals, 139 of which are new. In combination, these variants strongly predict COPD in independent patient populations. Furthermore, the combined effect of these variants showed generalizability across smokers and never-smokers, and across ancestral groups. We highlight biological pathways, known and potential drug targets for COPD and, in phenome-wide association studies, autoimmune-related and other pleiotropic effects of lung function associated variants. This new genetic evidence has potential to improve future preventive and therapeutic strategies for COPD.
A genome-wide association study in over 400,000 individuals identifies 139 new signals for lung function. These variants can predict chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in independent, trans-ethnic cohorts.