Genome-wide association studies of pit-and-fissure- and smooth-surface caries in permanent dentition

J Dent Res. 2013 May;92(5):432-7. doi: 10.1177/0022034513481976. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


While genetics clearly influences dental caries risk, few caries genes have been discovered and validated. Recent studies have suggested differential genetic factors for primary dentition caries and permanent dentition caries, as well as for pit-and-fissure- (PF) and smooth- (SM) surface caries. We performed separate GWAS for caries in permanent-dentition PF surfaces (1,017 participants, adjusted for age, sex, and the presence of Streptococcus mutans) and SM surfaces (1,004 participants, adjusted for age, education group, and the presence of Streptococcus mutans) in self-reported whites (ages 14 to 56 yrs). Caries scores were derived based on visual assessment of each surface of each tooth; more than 1.2 million SNPs were either successfully genotyped or imputed and were tested for association. Two homologous genes were suggestively associated: BCOR (Xp11.4) in PF-surface caries (p value = 1.8E-7), and BCORL1 (Xq26.1) in SM-surface caries (p value = 1.0E-5). BCOR mutations cause oculofaciocardiodental syndrome, a Mendelian disease involving multiple dental anomalies. Associations of other plausible cariogenesis genes were also observed for PF-surface caries (e.g., INHBA, p value = 6.5E-6) and for SM-surface caries (e.g., CXCR1 and CXCR2, p value = 1.9E-6). This study supports the notion that genes differentially affect cariogenesis across the surfaces of the permanent dentition, and nominates several novel genes for investigation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dental Caries / classification
  • Dental Caries / genetics*
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility / genetics*
  • Dentition, Permanent
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Inhibin-beta Subunits / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8A / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • BCOR protein, human
  • BCORL1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8A
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B
  • Repressor Proteins
  • inhibin beta A subunit
  • Inhibin-beta Subunits