The admixture of different ancestral populations in America may have important implications for the risk for psychiatric disorders, as it appears to have for other medical disorders. The present study investigated the role of population admixture in risk for several psychiatric disorders in European-Americans (EAs) and African-Americans (AAs). This is a multisite study with 3,792 subjects recruited from across the United States, including 3,119 EAs and 673 AAs. These subjects included healthy controls and those with substance dependence (SD) [including alcohol dependence (AD), cocaine dependence, and opioid dependence], social phobia, affective disorders, and schizophrenia. In addition, DNA was included from 78 West Africans. The degree of admixture for each subject was estimated by analysis of a set of ancestry-informative genetic markers using the program STRUCTURE, and was compared between cases and controls. As noted previously, the degree of admixture in AAs was higher than EAs. In EAs, the degree of admixture (with African ancestry) was significantly lower in patients with SD (mainly AD) than controls (P = 0.009 for SD; P = 0.008 for AD). This finding suggests that population admixture may modulate risk for alcohol dependence. Population admixture might protect against alcohol dependence by increasing average heterozygosity and reducing the risk of deleterious recessive alleles. We cannot exclude the possibility that the results might have been influenced by selection bias due to the multisite nature of the study.
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