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Sex‐specific linkage scans in opioid dependence

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Sex influences risk for opioid dependence (OD). We hypothesized that sex might interact with genetic loci that influence the risk for OD. Therefore we performed an analysis to identify sex-specific genomic susceptibility regions for OD using linkage. Over 6,000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were genotyped for 1,758 African- and European-American (AA and EA) individuals from 739 families, ascertained via affected sib-pairs with OD and/or cocaine dependence. Autosomewide non-parametric linkage scans, stratified by sex and population, were performed. We identified one significant linkage region, segregating with OD in EA men, at 71.1 cM on chromosome 4 (LOD = 3.29; point-wise P = 0.00005; empirical autosome-wide P = 0.042), which significantly differed from the linkage signal at the same location in EA women (empirical P = 0.002). Three suggestive linkage signals were identified at 181.3 cM on chromosome 7 (LOD = 2.18), 104 cM on chromosome 11 (LOD = 1.85), and 60.9 cM on chromosome 16 (LOD = 1.93) in EA women. In AA men, four suggestive linkage signals were detected at 201.1 cM on chromosome 3 (LOD = 2.32), 152.9 cM on chromosome 6 (LOD = 1.86), 16.8 cM on chromosome 7 (LOD = 1.95), and 36.1 cM on chromosome 17 (LOD = 1.99). The significant region, mapping to 4q12-4q13.1, harbors several OD candidate genes with interconnected functionality, including VEGFR, CLOCK, PDCL2, NMU, NRSF, and IGFBP7. In conclusion, these results provide an evidence for the existence of sex-specific and population-specific differences in OD. Furthermore, these results provide positional information that will facilitate the use of targeted next-generation sequencing to search for genes that contribute to sex-specific differences in OD. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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