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Mol Psychiatry. 2006 Jun;11(6):603-11.

Genomewide linkage study in the Irish affected sib pair study of alcohol dependence: evidence for a susceptibility region for symptoms of alcohol dependence on chromosome 4.

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Department of Psychology, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.


Alcoholism is a relatively common, chronic, disabling and often treatment-resistant disorder. Evidence from twin and adoption studies indicates a substantial genetic influence, with heritability estimates of 50-60%. We conducted a genome scan in the Irish Affected Sib Pair Study of Alcohol Dependence (IASPSAD). Most probands were ascertained through alcoholism treatment settings and were severely affected. Probands, affected siblings and parents were evaluated by structured interview. A 4 cM genome scan was conducted using 474 families of which most (96%) were comprised by affected sib pairs. Nonparametric and quantitative linkage analyses were conducted using DSM-IV alcohol dependence (AD) and number of DSM-IV AD symptoms (ADSX). Quantitative results indicate strong linkage for number of AD criteria to a broad region of chromosome 4, ranging from 4q22 to 4q32 (peak multipoint LOD=4.59, P=2.1 x 10(-6), at D4S1611). Follow-up analyses suggest that the linkage may be due to variation in the symptoms of tolerance and out of control drinking. There was evidence of weak linkage (LODs of 1.0-2.0) to several other regions, including 1q44, 13q31, and 22q11 for AD along with 2q37, 9q21, 9q34 and 18p11 for ADSX. The location of the chromosome 4 peak is consistent with results from prior linkage studies and includes the alcohol dehydrogenase gene cluster. The results of this study suggest the importance of genetic variation in chromosome 4 in the etiology and severity of alcoholism in Caucasian populations.

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