The availability of robust quantitative biological markers that are correlated with qualitative psychiatric phenotypes can potentially improve the power of linkage methods to detect quantitative-trait loci influencing psychiatric disorders. We apply a variance-component method for joint multipoint linkage analysis of multivariate discrete and continuous traits to the extended pedigree data from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism, in a bivariate analysis of qualitative alcoholism phenotypes and quantitative event-related potentials. Joint consideration of the DSM-IV diagnosis of alcoholism and the amplitude of the P300 component of the Cz event-related potential significantly increases the evidence for linkage of these traits to a chromosome 4 region near the class I alcohol dehydrogenase locus ADH3. A likelihood-ratio test for complete pleiotropy is significant, suggesting that the same quantitative-trait locus influences both risk of alcoholism and the amplitude of the P300 component.
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