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Genetic Epidemiology of Smoking Behaviors in Samoans

Saravanan, Ramya J. (2021) Genetic Epidemiology of Smoking Behaviors in Samoans. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Smoking tobacco is one of the leading causes of death around the world, and it is also a critical risk factor for many chronic diseases, including lung cancer and heart disease. Although smoking rates have declined in many countries, tobacco use continues to be a problem in other regions, such as the Pacific Islands, where 30–50% of the population are smokers. Researchers have reported that smoking behaviors are influenced by both environmental and genetic factors, but the specific loci involved are mostly unknown. In addition, the majority of genetic studies have been conducted in Caucasian populations, so the results may not be applicable to other ethnic groups. I investigated whether 20 genetic variants reported to influence smoking behaviors had a similar effect in Samoans, using genotype and demographic data available for 3,476 Samoan participants from the Soifua Manuia (Good Health) study. I also compared the allele frequencies (AFs) of these 20 loci in Samoans to those in other ethnic groups using principal component analysis. As expected, the Samoan population clustered most closely with East Asian populations, yet they had unique AFs for many loci. Regarding smoking phenotypes, males were more likely to be current smokers (CS) (p < 2.2×10-16), and they smoked more cigarettes per day (CPD) than females (p = 2.0×10-12). The association analyses revealed that the G allele of locus rs848353 was associated with increased odds of being a current smoker (OR = 2.635 [2.433–35.63]; p = 0.001), whereas the G allele of rs1329650 corresponded to a significant increase in CPD (β = 0.146 ± 0.044; p = 0.001); both variants are in noncoding regions of the genome. Additional genetic studies in Polynesians are needed to confirm these findings and help us understand the function of these noncoding regions in the etiology of addictive disorders. This knowledge may help development of targeted interventions for smoking cessation, eventually leading to a reduction in chronic disease morbidity and mortality and overall improving public health in Samoa.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Saravanan, Ramya J.
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKammerer, Candacecmk3@pitt.educmk3UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMiljkovici, Ivamiljkovici@edc.pitt.edumiljkoviciUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMinster, Ryanrminster@pitt.edurminsterUNSPECIFIED
Date: 12 May 2021
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 4 May 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 43
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Human Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: nicotine dependence, smoking initiation, nicotine metabolism
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 03:03
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 17:51


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