G = E: What GWAS Can Tell Us about the Environment

Suzanne H Gage, George Davey Smith, Jen J Ware, Jonathan Flint, Marcus R Munafo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
355 Downloads (Pure)


As our understanding of genetics has improved, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous variants associated with lifestyle behaviours and health outcomes. However, what is sometimes overlooked is the possibility that genetic variants identified in GWAS of disease might reflect the effect of modifiable risk factors as well as direct genetic effects. We discuss this possibility with illustrative examples from tobacco and alcohol research, in which genetic variants that predict behavioural phenotypes have been seen in GWAS of diseases known to be causally related to these behaviours. This consideration has implications for the interpretation of GWAS findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005765
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2016

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol

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