Rare genetic variants explain missing heritability in smoking

Seon Kyeong Jang, Luke Evans, Allison Fialkowski, Donna K. Arnett, Allison E. Ashley-Koch, Kathleen C. Barnes, Diane M. Becker, Joshua C. Bis, John Blangero, Eugene R. Bleecker, Meher Preethi Boorgula, Donald W. Bowden, Jennifer A. Brody, Brian E. Cade, Brenda W.Campbell Jenkins, April P. Carson, Sameer Chavan, L. Adrienne Cupples, Brian Custer, Scott M. DamrauerSean P. David, Mariza de Andrade, Carla L. Dinardo, Tasha E. Fingerlin, Myriam Fornage, Barry I. Freedman, Melanie E. Garrett, Sina A. Gharib, David C. Glahn, Jeffrey Haessler, Susan R. Heckbert, John E. Hokanson, Lifang Hou, Shih Jen Hwang, Matthew C. Hyman, Renae Judy, Anne E. Justice, Robert C. Kaplan, Sharon L.R. Kardia, Shannon Kelly, Wonji Kim, Charles Kooperberg, Daniel Levy, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, Ruth J.F. Loos, Ani W. Manichaikul, Mark T. Gladwin, Lisa Warsinger Martin, Mehdi Nouraie, Olle Melander, Deborah A. Meyers, Courtney G. Montgomery, Kari E. North, Elizabeth C. Oelsner, Nicholette D. Palmer, Marinelle Payton, Anna L. Peljto, Patricia A. Peyser, Michael Preuss, Bruce M. Psaty, Dandi Qiao, Daniel J. Rader, Nicholas Rafaels, Susan Redline, Robert M. Reed, Alexander P. Reiner, Stephen S. Rich, Jerome I. Rotter, David A. Schwartz, Aladdin H. Shadyab, Edwin K. Silverman, Nicholas L. Smith, J. Gustav Smith, Albert V. Smith, Jennifer A. Smith, Weihong Tang, Kent D. Taylor, Marilyn J. Telen, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Victor R. Gordeuk, Zhe Wang, Kerri L. Wiggins, Lisa R. Yanek, Ivana V. Yang, Kendra A. Young, Kristin L. Young, Yingze Zhang, Dajiang J. Liu, Matthew C. Keller, Scott Vrieze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Common genetic variants explain less variation in complex phenotypes than inferred from family-based studies, and there is a debate on the source of this ‘missing heritability’. We investigated the contribution of rare genetic variants to tobacco use with whole-genome sequences from up to 26,257 unrelated individuals of European ancestries and 11,743 individuals of African ancestries. Across four smoking traits, single-nucleotide-polymorphism-based heritability (hSNP2) was estimated from 0.13 to 0.28 (s.e., 0.10–0.13) in European ancestries, with 35–74% of it attributable to rare variants with minor allele frequencies between 0.01% and 1%. These heritability estimates are 1.5–4 times higher than past estimates based on common variants alone and accounted for 60% to 100% of our pedigree-based estimates of narrow-sense heritability (hped2, 0.18–0.34). In the African ancestry samples, hSNP2 was estimated from 0.03 to 0.33 (s.e., 0.09–0.14) across the four smoking traits. These results suggest that rare variants are important contributors to the heritability of smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1577-1586
Number of pages10
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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