Multivariate Genome-wide Association Meta-analysis Of Over 1 Million Subjects Identifies Loci Underlying Multiple Substance Use Disorders

This comprehensive study investigates the genetic factors contributing to substance use disorders (SUDs), including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and opioid use. It encompasses a vast dataset with over a million participants, representing diverse populations.   

Researchers took several steps to investigate the genetic factors associated with substance use disorders (SUDs). First, they categorized the effects of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) into five sources of variation: a general addiction risk factor (referred to as addiction-rf), and risks specific to alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and opioids. Second, they explored the biological pathways linked to the risk of these five SUD phenotypes using gene analysis and pathway enrichment techniques. Third, they examined existing medications that could potentially be repurposed for SUD treatment. Fourth, they evaluated the relationship between a polygenic risk score (PRS) derived from the addiction-rf and general SUD phenotypes in a separate case/control sample. Fifth, they investigated how genetic susceptibility to the addiction-rf might overlap with other traits, such as physical and mental health outcomes. Finally, they assessed whether the addiction-rf PRS was associated with medical diagnoses from electronic health records (EHRs) and behavioral traits in 9-10-year-old children who had limited exposure to substances. This study significantly advances our knowledge of the genetic foundations of addiction, encompassing both general and substance-specific factors, with potential implications for treatment and a broader understanding of how addiction risk relates to overall health. Click the link below to read more. 


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