Drinking habits tied to genes

Friday, March 18, 2005

The amount of alcohol people drink may be influenced by their genes.

A new study has found a link between specific genes, drinking habits, and possibly alcohol addiction.

The study, by UK researchers at the universities of Bristol and Oxford, involved data from nearly 1,000 people who provided detailed information about their drinking habits.

The researchers focused on a gene that controls chemical signaling in the brain.

Different versions of the gene may influence the balance and effect of signaling molecules.

One genetic variant—a version of the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene—was strongly linked with alcohol consumption.

DRD2 appears to affect positive feelings from alcohol, meaning that people without the variant might find drinking less pleasurable.

The research is reported in The Pharmacogenomics Journal.