Haplotypes of the Monoamine Oxidase Genes and the Risk for Substance Use Disorders

Michael M. Vanyukov, Brion S. Maher, Bernie Devlin, Ralph E. Tarter, Galina P. Kirillova, Ling Mei Yu, Robert E. Ferrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) locus is an attractive candidate for exploring genetic contribution to the variation in the risk for substance use disorders (SUD) because of its important role in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin. Prior findings have suggested an association of the MAOA gene with the risk for early onset SUD. To extend this research, we genotyped four MAOA markers (two VNTR polymorphisms and two SNPs) and built a cladogram reflecting the evolutionary history of MAOA haplotypes [Nguyen et al., under review]. The cladogram served as the framework for nested ANOVA and logit analyses of association between MAOA and indices of liability to SUD (diagnosis, age of onset, and a dimensional index of substance use related problems) in a sample of adult males of European ancestry. Whereas no association was found for the categorical diagnosis, a significant relationship was detected between the dimensional liability indices and MAOA haplotypes. Overall, our results, albeit not definitive, are consistent with the hypothesis that variants in MAOA account for a small portion of the variance of SUD risk, possibly mediated by liability to early onset behavioral problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-125
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Volume125 B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Association
  • Candidate genes
  • Cladistic analysis
  • Drug abuse
  • MAO
  • Measured haplotype analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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