Preprint open access publication

Consortium genome-wide meta-analysis for childhood dental caries traits

bioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory,


DOI:10.1101/238824, Dimensions: pub.1100076421,



  1. (1) University of Bristol, grid.5337.2
  2. (2) Broad Institute, grid.66859.34
  3. (3) Umeå University, grid.12650.30
  4. (4) Erasmus University Medical Center, grid.5645.2
  5. (5) State Serum Institute, grid.6203.7
  6. (6) University of Pittsburgh, grid.21925.3d
  7. (7) Helmholtz Zentrum München, grid.4567.0
  8. (8) Klinikum der Universität München, grid.411095.8
  9. (9) University of Western Australia, grid.1012.2
  10. (10) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  11. (11) University of Eastern Finland, grid.9668.1
  12. (12) Tampere University, grid.502801.e
  13. (13) Turku University Hospital, grid.410552.7
  14. (14) University of Turku, grid.1374.1
  15. (15) West Virginia University, grid.268154.c
  16. (16) University of Iowa, grid.214572.7
  17. (17) University of Washington, grid.34477.33
  18. (18) University of Southern Denmark, grid.10825.3e, SDU
  19. (19) Kuopio University Hospital, grid.410705.7
  20. (20) Kuopion Liikuntalääketieteen Tutkimuslaitos, grid.419013.e
  21. (21) Department of Conservative Dentistry and Periodontology, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Münich, Germany
  22. (22) Stanford University, grid.168010.e
  23. (23) Harvard University, grid.38142.3c
  24. (24) Lund University, grid.4514.4


Abstract Prior studies suggest dental caries traits in children and adolescents are partially heritable, but there has been no large-scale consortium genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date. We therefore performed GWAS for caries in participants aged 2.5-18.0 years from 9 contributing centers. Phenotype definitions were created for the presence or absence of treated or untreated caries, stratified by primary and permanent dentition. All studies tested for association between caries and genotype dosage (imputed to Haplotype Reference Consortium or 1000 Genomes phase 1 version 3 panels) accounting for population stratification. Fixed–effects meta-analysis was performed weighted by inverse standard error. Analysis included up to 19,003 individuals (7,530 affected) for primary teeth and 13,353 individuals (5,875 affected) for permanent teeth. Evidence for association with caries status was observed at rs1594318-C for primary teeth (intronic within ALLC , Odds Ratio (OR) 0.85, Effect Allele Frequency (EAF) 0.60, p 4.13e-8) and rs7738851-A (intronic within NEDD9 , OR 1.28, EAF 0.85, p 1.63e-8) for permanent teeth. Consortium-wide estimated heritability of caries was low (h 2 of 1% [95% CI: 0%:7%] and 6% [95% CI 0%:13%] for primary and permanent dentitions, respectively) compared to corresponding within-study estimates (h 2 of 28%, [95% CI: 9%:48%] and 17% [95% CI:2%:31%]) or previously published estimates. This study was designed to identify common genetic variants with modest effects which are consistent across different populations. We found few single variants associated with caries status under these assumptions. Phenotypic heterogeneity between cohorts and limited statistical power will have contributed; these findings could also reflect complexity not captured by our study design, such as genetic effects which are conditional on environmental exposure. Author summary Dental caries (tooth decay) is a common disease in children. Previous studies suggest genetic factors alter caries risk, but to date there is a gap of knowledge in identifying which specific genetic variants are responsible. We undertook analysis in a consortium including around 19,000 children and investigated whether any of 8 million common genetic variants were associated with risk of caries in primary (milk) or permanent teeth. If identified, these variants are used as ‘tags’ to highlight genes which may be involved in a disease. We identified variants in two loci associated with caries status; in the primary (rs1594318) and permanent dentition (rs7738851). The former is intronic in ALLC , a gene with poorly understood function. The latter is an intronic variant within NEDD9 , a gene which has several known functions including a role in development of craniofacial structures. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of genetic effects which influence caries larger studies and a better understanding of environmental modifiers or interactions with genetic effects are required.


Research Categories

Main Subject Area

Links & Metrics

NORA University Profiles

University of Copenhagen

University of Southern Denmark

Dimensions Citation Indicators

Times Cited: 0

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 0

Open Access Info

Green, Published