Converging findings from linkage and association analyses on susceptibility genes for smoking and other addictions

Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Aug;21(8):992-1008. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.67. Epub 2016 May 10.


Experimental approaches to genetic studies of complex traits evolve with technological advances. How do discoveries using different approaches advance our knowledge of the genetic architecture underlying complex diseases/traits? Do most of the findings of newer techniques, such as genome-wide association study (GWAS), provide more information than older ones, for example, genome-wide linkage study? In this review, we address these issues by developing a nicotine dependence (ND) genetic susceptibility map based on the results obtained by the approaches commonly used in recent years, namely, genome-wide linkage, candidate gene association, GWAS and targeted sequencing. Converging and diverging results from these empirical approaches have elucidated a preliminary genetic architecture of this intractable psychiatric disorder and yielded new hypotheses on ND etiology. The insights we obtained by putting together results from diverse approaches can be applied to other complex diseases/traits. In sum, developing a genetic susceptibility map and keeping it updated are effective ways to keep track of what we know about a disease/trait and what the next steps may be with new approaches.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / genetics
  • Genetic Association Studies / methods
  • Genetic Linkage / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Smoking / genetics*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / genetics*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology