Previous family studies suggested that genetic variation contributes to COPD susceptibility. The only gene proven to influence COPD susceptibility is SERPINA1, encoding α1-antitrypsin. Most studies on COPD candidate genes except SERPINA1, have not been consistently replicated. However, longitudinal studies of decline in lung function, meta-analyses of candidate gene studies, and family-based linkage analyses suggested that variants in EPHX1, GST, MMP12, TGFB1, and SERPINE2 were associated with susceptibility to COPD. A genome-wide association (GWA) study has recently demonstrated that CHRNA3/5 in 15q25 was associated with COPD compared with control smokers. It was of interest that the CHRNA3/5 locus was associated with nicotine dependence and lung cancer as well. The associations of HHIP on 4q31 and FAM13A on 4q22 with COPD were also suggested in GWA studies. Another GWA study has shown that BICD1 in 12p11 was associated with the presence or absence of emphysema. Although every genetic study on COPD has some limitations including heterogeneity in smoking behaviors and comorbidities, it has contributed to the progress in elucidating the pathogenesis of COPD. Future studies will make us understand the mechanisms underlying the polygenic disease, leading to the development of a specific treatment for each phenotype.