Trans-ancestral GWAS of alcohol dependence reveals common genetic underpinnings with psychiatric disorders

23andMe Research Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Liability to alcohol dependence (AD) is heritable, but little is known about its complex polygenic architecture or its genetic relationship with other disorders. To discover loci associated with AD and characterize the relationship between AD and other psychiatric and behavioral outcomes, we carried out the largest GWAS to date of DSM-IV diagnosed AD. Genome-wide data on 14,904 individuals with AD and 37,944 controls from 28 case/control and family-based studies were meta-analyzed, stratified by genetic ancestry (European, N = 46,568; African; N = 6,280). Independent, genome-wide significant effects of different ADH1B variants were identified in European (rs1229984; p = 9.8E-13) and African ancestries (rs2066702; p = 2.2E-9). Significant genetic correlations were observed with schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, and use of cigarettes and cannabis. There was only modest genetic correlation with alcohol consumption and inconsistent associations with problem drinking. The genetic underpinnings of AD only partially overlap with those for alcohol consumption, underscoring the genetic distinction between pathological and non-pathological drinking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Mar 10 2018


  • Alcohol use
  • Alcoholism
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Pleiotropy
  • Psychiatric disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Trans-ancestral GWAS of alcohol dependence reveals common genetic underpinnings with psychiatric disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this