Genome-wide association study of a quantitative disordered gambling trait

Penelope A. Lind, Gu Zhu, Grant W. Montgomery, Pamela A.F. Madden, Andrew C. Heath, Nicholas G. Martin, Wendy S. Slutske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Disordered gambling is a moderately heritable trait, but the underlying genetic basis is largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for disordered gambling using a quantitative factor score in 1312 twins from 894 Australian families. Association was conducted for 2 381 914 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the family-based association test in Merlin followed by gene and pathway enrichment analyses. Although no SNP reached genome-wide significance, six achieved P-values < 1 × 10 -5 with variants in three genes (MT1X, ATXN1 and VLDLR) implicated in disordered gambling. Secondary case-control analyses found two SNPs on chromosome 9 (rs1106076 and rs12305135 near VLDLR) and rs10812227 near FZD10 on chromosome 12 to be significantly associated with lifetime Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition pathological gambling and South Oaks Gambling Screen classified probable pathological gambling status. Furthermore, several addiction-related pathways were enriched for SNPs associated with disordered gambling. Finally, gene-based analysis of 24 candidate genes for dopamine agonist-induced gambling in individuals with Parkinson's disease suggested an enrichment of SNPs associated with disordered gambling. We report the first GWAS of disordered gambling. While further replication is required, the identification of susceptibility loci and biological pathways will be important in characterizing the biological mechanisms that underpin disordered gambling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • association
  • canonical pathways
  • disordered gambling
  • enrichment analysis
  • genomewide
  • quantitative


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