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Mol Psychiatry. 2019 Nov 25. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0607-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Genetic and shared couple environmental contributions to smoking and alcohol use in the UK population.

Author information

1
Division of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. toni.clarke@ed.ac.uk.
2
Division of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
3
MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
5
Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
6
Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
7
Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
8
Division of Population and Health Genomics, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.
9
The Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.
10
Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Abstract

Alcohol use and smoking are leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Both genetic and environmental factors have been shown to influence individual differences in the use of these substances. In the present study we tested whether genetic factors, modelled alongside common family environment, explained phenotypic variance in alcohol use and smoking behaviour in the Generation Scotland (GS) family sample of up to 19,377 individuals. SNP and pedigree-associated effects combined explained between 18 and 41% of the variance in substance use. Shared couple effects explained a significant amount of variance across all substance use traits, particularly alcohol intake, for which 38% of the phenotypic variance was explained. We tested whether the within-couple substance use associations were due to assortative mating by testing the association between partner polygenic risk scores in 34,987 couple pairs from the UK Biobank (UKB). No significant association between partner polygenic risk scores were observed. Associations between an individual's alcohol PRS (b = 0.05, S.E. = 0.006, p < 2 × 10-16) and smoking status PRS (b = 0.05, S.E. = 0.005, p < 2 × 10-16) were found with their partner's phenotype. In support of this, G carriers of a functional ADH1B polymorphism (rs1229984), known to be associated with greater alcohol intake, were found to consume less alcohol if they had a partner who carried an A allele at this SNP. Together these results show that the shared couple environment contributes significantly to patterns of substance use. It is unclear whether this is due to shared environmental factors, assortative mating, or indirect genetic effects. Future studies would benefit from longitudinal data and larger sample sizes to assess this further.

PMID:
31767999
DOI:
10.1038/s41380-019-0607-x

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