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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.


Funder: Multiple Sclerosis Society

Funder: Aims2Cure

Funder: Barts Charity


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

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BMJ Open

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Medical Research Council (MR/V028766/1)