Genetic risk scores and dementia risk across different ethnic groups in UK Biobank

PLoS One. 2022 Dec 7;17(12):e0277378. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277378. eCollection 2022.


Background: Genetic Risk Scores (GRS) for predicting dementia risk have mostly been used in people of European ancestry with limited testing in other ancestry groups.

Methods: We conducted a logistic regression with all-cause dementia as the outcome and z-standardised GRS as the exposure across diverse ethnic groups.

Findings: There was variation in frequency of APOE alleles across ethnic groups. Per standard deviation (SD) increase in z-GRS including APOE, the odds ratio (OR) for dementia was 1.73 (95%CI 1.69-1.77). Z-GRS excluding APOE also increased dementia risk (OR 1.21 per SD increase, 95% CI 1.18-1.24) and there was no evidence that ethnicity modified this association. Prediction of secondary outcomes was less robust in those not of European ancestry when APOE was excluded from the GRS.

Interpretation: z-GRS derived from studies in people of European ancestry can be used to quantify genetic risk in people from more diverse ancestry groups. Urgent work is needed to include people from diverse ancestries in future genetic risk studies to make this field more inclusive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks*
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology