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Original Paper

Free Access

Genes and Their Effects on Dental Caries May Differ between Primary and Permanent Dentitions

Wang X.a, b, h · Shaffer J.R.d · Weyant R.J.c, h · Cuenco K.T.a, b, d, h · DeSensi R.S.a, b, h · Crout R.f, h · McNeil D.W.g · Marazita M.L.a, b, d, e, h

Author affiliations

aCenter for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, bDepartment of Oral Biology, cDepartment of Dental Public Health and Information Management, School of Dental Medicine, dDepartment of Human Genetics, Graduate School of Public Health, and eClinical and Translational Science Institute and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.; fDepartment of Periodontics, School of Dentistry, and gDental Practice and Rural Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.; hCenter for Oral Health Research in Appalachia, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., and West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va., USA

Corresponding Author

Mary L. Marazita, PhD

Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, University of Pittsburgh

Suite 500 Bridgeside Point, 100 Technology Dr.

Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (USA)

Tel. +1 412 648 8380, Fax +1 412 648 8779, E-Mail marazita@pitt.edu

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Caries Res 2010;44:277–284

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The importance of genetic factors in the genesis of dental caries of both primary and permanent dentitions is well established; however, the degree to which genes contribute to the development of dental caries, and whether these genes differ between primary and permanent dentitions, is largely unknown. Using family-based likelihood methods, we assessed the heritability of caries-related phenotypes for both children and adults in 2,600 participants from 740 families. We found that caries phenotypes in the primary dentition were highly heritable, with genes accounting for 54–70% of variation in caries scores. The heritability of caries scores in the permanent dentition was also substantial (35–55%, all p < 0.01), although this was lower than analogous phenotypes in the primary dentition. Assessment of the genetic correlation between primary and permanent caries scores indicated that 18% of the covariation in these traits was due to common genetic factors (p < 0.01). Therefore, dental caries in primary and permanent teeth may be partly attributable to different suites of genes or genes with differential effects. Sex and age explained much of the phenotypic variation in permanent, but not primary, dentition. Further, including pre-cavitated white-spot lesions in the phenotype definition substantially increased the heritability estimates for dental caries. In conclusion, our results show that dental caries are heritable, and suggest that genes affecting susceptibility to caries in the primary dentition may differ from those in permanent teeth. Moreover, metrics for quantifying caries that incorporate white-spot lesions may serve as better phenotypes in genetic studies of the causes of tooth decay.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: July 15, 2009
Accepted: February 26, 2010
Published online: May 12, 2010
Issue release date: July 2010

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 2
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0008-6568 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-976X (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/CRE

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