Age at onset of alcohol dependence (AO-AD) is a defining feature of multiple drinking typologies. AO-AD is heritable and likely shares genetic liability with other aspects of alcohol consumption. We examine whether polygenic variation in AO-AD, based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS), was associated with AO-AD and other aspects of alcohol consumption in two independent samples. Genetic risk scores (GRS) were created based on AO-AD GWAS results from a discovery sample of 1788 regular drinkers from extended pedigrees from the Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA). GRS were used to predict AO-AD, AD and Alcohol dependence symptom count (AD-SX), age at onset of intoxication (AO-I), as well as maxdrinks in regular drinking participants from two independent samples—the Study of Addictions: Genes and Environment (SAGE; n = 2336) and an Australian sample (OZ-ALC; n = 5816). GRS for AO-AD from COGA explained a modest but significant proportion of the variance in all alcohol-related phenotypes in SAGE. Despite including effect sizes associated with large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; 4110 000), GRS explained, at most, 0.7% of the variance in these alcohol measures in this independent sample. In OZ-ALC, significant but even more modest associations were noted with variance estimates ranging from 0.03 to 0.16%. In conclusion, there is modest evidence that genetic variation in AO-AD is associated with liability to other aspects of alcohol involvement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry