ADAMS project: a genetic Association study in individuals from Diverse Ancestral backgrounds with Multiple Sclerosis based in the UK.

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Schalk, Luisa 
Dunne, Angie 
Scalfari, Antonio 
Nandoskar, Ashwini 

PURPOSE: Genetic studies of multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility and severity have focused on populations of European ancestry. Studying MS genetics in other ancestral groups is necessary to determine the generalisability of these findings. The genetic Association study in individuals from Diverse Ancestral backgrounds with Multiple Sclerosis (ADAMS) project aims to gather genetic and phenotypic data on a large cohort of ancestrally-diverse individuals with MS living in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: Adults with self-reported MS from diverse ancestral backgrounds. Recruitment is via clinical sites, online ( or the UK MS Register. We are collecting demographic and phenotypic data using a baseline questionnaire and subsequent healthcare record linkage. We are collecting DNA from participants using saliva kits (Oragene-600) and genotyping using the Illumina Global Screening Array V.3. FINDINGS TO DATE: As of 3 January 2023, we have recruited 682 participants (n=446 online, n=55 via sites, n=181 via the UK MS Register). Of this initial cohort, 71.2% of participants are female, with a median age of 44.9 years at recruitment. Over 60% of the cohort are non-white British, with 23.5% identifying as Asian or Asian British, 16.2% as Black, African, Caribbean or Black British and 20.9% identifying as having mixed or other backgrounds. The median age at first symptom is 28 years, and median age at diagnosis is 32 years. 76.8% have relapsing-remitting MS, and 13.5% have secondary progressive MS. FUTURE PLANS: Recruitment will continue over the next 10 years. Genotyping and genetic data quality control are ongoing. Within the next 3 years, we aim to perform initial genetic analyses of susceptibility and severity with a view to replicating the findings from European-ancestry studies. In the long term, genetic data will be combined with other datasets to further cross-ancestry genetic discoveries.


Peer reviewed: True

Acknowledgements: A full list of contributing authors and their contributions can be found in the supplement. BJ, RD, HRM, GG, ES and AJN were involved in the conception of the study. BJ and RD have ultimate oversight over the study. BJ and LS are responsible for the day-to-day management of the study. All authors are involved in data acquisition and/or recruitment. All authors were involved in drafting and editing the manuscript, have given final approval for submission, and accept accountability for the work reported.

Funder: Barts Charity; doi:

Funder: Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; doi:

Funder: Aims2Cure; doi:

GENETICS, Multiple sclerosis, Neurology, Adult, Humans, Female, Middle Aged, Male, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive, Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting, Genetic Association Studies, United Kingdom
Journal Title
BMJ Open
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Medical Research Council (MR/V028766/1)