A genome-wide scan for loci influencing adolescent cannabis dependence symptoms: Evidence for linkage on chromosomes 3 and 9

Christian J. Hopfer*, Jeffrey M. Lessem, Christie A. Hartman, Michael C. Stallings, Stacey S. Cherny, Robin P. Corley, John K. Hewitt, Kenneth S. Krauter, Susan K. Mikulich-Gilbertson, Soo Hyun Rhee, Andrew Smolen, Susan E. Young, Thomas J. Crowley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Cannabis is the most frequently abused illicit substance among adolescents and young adults. Genetic risk factors account for part of the variation in the development of cannabis dependence symptoms; however, no linkage studies have been performed for cannabis dependence symptoms. This study aimed to identify such loci. Method: Three hundred and twenty-four sibling pairs from 192 families were assessed for cannabis dependence symptoms. Probands (13-19 years of age) were recruited from consecutive admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities. The siblings of the probands ranged in age from 12 to 25 years. A community-based sample of 4843 adolescents and young adults was utilized to define an age- and sex-corrected index of cannabis dependence vulnerability. DSM-IV cannabis dependence symptoms were assessed in youth and their family members with the Composite International Diagnostic Instrument-Substance Abuse Module. Siblings and parents were genotyped for 374 microsatellite markers distributed across the 22 autosomes (average inter-marker distance = 9.2 cM). Cannabis dependence symptoms were analyzed using Merlin-regress, a regression-based method that is robust to sample selection. Results: Evidence for suggestive linkage was found on chromosome 3q21 near marker D3S1267 (LOD = 2.61), and on chromosome 9q34 near marker D9S1826 (LOD = 2.57). Conclusions: This is the first reported linkage study of cannabis dependence symptoms. Other reports of linkage regions for illicit substance dependence have been reported near 3q21, suggesting that this region may contain a quantitative trait loci influencing cannabis dependence and other substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute on Drug AbuseDA015522, P60DA011015
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismAA07464


    • Adolescence
    • Antisocial behavior
    • Cannabis
    • Genetics
    • Linkage study


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