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Approved Research

Identify genetic associations with (a) alcohol dependence and (b) substance misuse via genome-wide association studies

Principal Investigator: Arpana Agrawal
Approved Research ID: 19798
Approval date: June 17th 2020

Lay summary

The primary aim is to identify genetic associations with (a) alcohol dependence and (b) substance misuse (including alcohol misuse and illicit drug misuse) via genome-wide association studies (GWAS), making use of data from the UK Biobank genotyping project. The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Substance Use Disorders working group (PGC-SUD) is currently conducting meta-analyses of GWAS data for alcoholism and other substance-related phenotypes. Our first analysis uses alcohol dependent cases (N=13K) and exposed controls (N=30K). UK Biobank therefore represents an outstanding resource for additional GWAS data which will be included within our meta-analysis work.

We will also use post-GWAS approaches to examine phenotypic and genomic association between substance use phenotypes and correlated factors, including indices of mental/physical health and psychosocial factors. We have expanded the correlates that we examine solely based on the current state of science - recent studies of addiction-related phenotypes suggest broader relationships across domains of health and environment that previously anticipated. We have used summarized data from the UKBB HAIL initiative but in many cases, addiction centered phenotypes are not coded as might be needed and therefore, connections with these correlates are not representative. As we have learned more about the genetics of substance use, understanding genetic relationships with other psychosocial, mental, physical health and related outcomes has become key to advancing the science of addictions and unpacking genomic contributions to its various stages.