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A Smoking Gene: deCODE Shows How a Single Variant in the Sequence of the Genome Confers Nicotine Dependence and Risk of Lung Cancer and Other Disease
Date:4/2/2008

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cigarette smoking is a major public health problem that contributes to millions of deaths around the world each year. While the health risks of smoking are well known, relatively little is known about why some people are particularly likely to get addicted to cigarettes and may consequently be at greater danger of lung cancer and other diseases.

Today scientists from deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN) and their colleagues from several universities report in the journal Nature a clear link between a single-letter variant in the sequence of the human genome (SNP) and susceptibility to nicotine dependence. Moreover, in part because of this impact on smoking behavior, each copy of the risk variant of this SNP confers an approximately 30% increase in risk of lung cancer and a 20% increase in risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common and debilitating constriction of the arteries to the legs. Roughly half of people of European descent carry at least one copy of the variant, which the deCODE team estimates to account for some 18% of lung cancers and 10% of cases of PAD. These are also perhaps the highest-impact risk factors yet found for either condition. deCODE aims to apply these findings in the development of a DNA- based test which can be used to aid in personalizing and increasing the effectiveness of smoking cessation efforts, and of predicting risk of lung cancer and PAD.

The SNP, rs1051730, is located on chromosome 15q24 in a nicotine acetylcholine receptor called CHRNA3. The paper, 'A variant associated with nicotine dependence,
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SOURCE deCODE
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