Superfund Research Program

April 2023

Paper of the Month or Year

By analyzing DNA from people of different ancestries, researchers at the Columbia University SRP-Center and collaborators identified several inherited genetic variants that could influence individual sensitivity to arsenic exposure. The findings point to potential biological mechanisms underpinning arsenic toxicity.

For their study, the team used genetic data from three health studies — the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS), the Strong Heart Study (SHS), and the New Hampshire Skin Cancer Study (NHSCS) — representing Bangladeshi, American Indian, and European American populations, respectively, that had experienced arsenic exposure.

Together, the analyses indicated that multiple variants in a region called 10q24.32, which contains a gene involved in arsenic metabolism, likely affect arsenic metabolism efficiency. According to the authors, the study paves the way for future work with cells or animals to directly assess the impact of specific variants on arsenic metabolism.

To learn more, see the NIEHS Environmental Factor newsletter.