A Genomic Scan for Habitual Smoking in Families of Alcoholics: Common and Specific Genetic Factors in Substance Dependence

Laura Jean Bierut, John P. Rice, Alison Goate, Anthony L. Hinrichs, Nancy L. Saccone, Tatiana Foroud, Howard J. Edenberg, C. Robert Cloninger, Henri Begleiter, P. Michael Conneally, Raymond R. Crowe, Victor Hesselbrock, Ting Kai Li, John I. Nurnberger, Bernice Porjesz, Marc A. Schuckit, Theodore Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Smoking is a highly heritable, addictive disorder that commonly co-occurs with alcohol dependence. The purpose of this study is to perform a genomic screen for habitual smoking and comorbid habitual smoking and alcohol dependence in families from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA). Subjects were assessed using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism (SSAGA) to evaluate alcohol dependence and habitual smoking (smoking one pack per day or more for at least 6 months). Sixty seven multi-generational families with 154 independent sibling pairs affected with habitual smoking were genotyped in a screening sample. Analyses on 79 multi-generational families with 173 independent sibling pairs were repeated in a replication sample. Sibpair analyses were performed using ASPEX. Four chromosomal regions in the screening sample had increased allele sharing among sibling pairs for habitual smoking with a LOD score greater than 1 (chromosomes 5, 9, 11, and 21). The highest LOD score was on chromosome 9 (LOD = 2.02; allele sharing 58.9%). Four chromosomal regions also had modest evidence for linkage to the comorbid phenotype habitual smoking and alcohol dependence (chromosomes 1, 2, 11, 15); and the strongest finding was on chromosome 2 (LOD=3.30; allele sharing 69.1%). Previously identified areas (chromosomes 1 and 7) implicated in the development of alcohol dependence in this same data set did not provide evidence for linkage to habitual smoking in the screening sample. In the replication data set, there continued to be increased allele sharing near peaks identified in the screening sample on chromosomes 2 and 9, but the results were modest. An area on chromosome 7, approximately 60 cM from a location previously identified in linkage analysis with alcohol dependence, had increased allele sharing for the comorbid habitual smoking and alcohol dependence. These data provide evidence of specific genetic regions involved in the development of habitual smoking and not alcohol dependence. Conversely, genetic regions that influence the development of alcohol dependence do not appear to contribute to the development of habitual smoking. Finally, there is also evidence of an area on chromosome 2 that may reflect a common genetic vulnerability locus to both habitual smoking and alcohol dependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Volume124 A
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


  • Alcoholism
  • Comorbidity
  • Family study
  • Genetic study
  • Linkage analysis
  • Smoking


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