Genome-wide association study of smoking trajectory and meta-analysis of smoking status in 842,000 individuals

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39 Scopus citations


Here we report a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) for longitudinal smoking phenotypes in 286,118 individuals from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) where we identified 18 loci for smoking trajectory of current versus never in European Americans, one locus in African Americans, and one in Hispanic Americans. Functional annotations prioritized several dozen genes where significant loci co-localized with either expression quantitative trait loci or chromatin interactions. The smoking trajectories were genetically correlated with 209 complex traits, for 33 of which smoking was either a causal or a consequential factor. We also performed European-ancestry meta-analyses for smoking status in the MVP and GWAS & Sequencing Consortium of Alcohol and Nicotine use (GSCAN) (Ntotal = 842,717) and identified 99 loci for smoking initiation and 13 loci for smoking cessation. Overall, this large GWAS of longitudinal smoking phenotype in multiple populations, combined with a meta-GWAS for smoking status, adds new insights into the genetic vulnerability for smoking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5302
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is based on data from the Million Veteran Program, Office of Research and Development, Veterans Health Administration, and was supported by award #MVP004. This publication does not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government. Our study was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse grants R01DA038632, R01DA047063, and R01DA047820. We thank all participants in the MVP who allowed access to their electronic health records and provided blood samples for genomic analyses. We thank all authors and consortia for making their summary statistics publicly available to the research community.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


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