Icelandic Scientists Find Genetic Reasons for Smoking Skip to content

Icelandic Scientists Find Genetic Reasons for Smoking

DeCODE genetics, which is headquartered in Reykjavík, has determined that there are genetic factors behind nicotine dependence and lung cancer. Smoking is a complex behavior which varies among individuals, as does the impact on the health of smokers, and now deCODE has concluded that a large portion of this variability is genetic.

Kári Stefánsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“Smoking is bad for anyone’s health. It is even worse for some, and today’s discoveries continue to strengthen our ability to identify who those people are and give them a compelling additional reason to quit,” said Kári Stefánsson, executive chairman and president of research at deCODE and senior author on the paper, in an announcement.

Two years ago, deCODE discovered the first common, single-letter variation (SNP) in the sequence of the human genome, on chromosome 15q25, associated with nicotine addiction and the risk of lung cancer.

Today, deCODE scientists and academic colleagues from 23 institutions in a dozen countries are building on this discovery that common SNPs on chromosomes 8p11 and 19q13 among smokers increase the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD), a measure of nicotine addiction, and increase risk of lung cancer.

The study, published on April 25 in the online edition of Nature Genetics, analyzes detailed genotypic and smoking data from more than 130,000 participants.

Click here to read more about deCODE.

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