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Health Agencies Update
September 27, 2006

Alcoholism Genes

JAMA. 2006;296(12):1458. doi:10.1001/jama.296.12.1458-d

Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse have completed the most comprehensive scan of the human genome for clues to the genetics of alcoholism and turned up variations clustered around 51 chromosomal regions that may play roles in alcohol addiction (Johnson C et al. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30346 [published online ahead of print August 7, 2006]).

By creating a new genetic tool that allowed them to generate the equivalent of more than 29 million individual genotypes and to analyze more than 100 000 genetic variations from alcohol-dependent and control individuals, the scientists identified candidate genes involved in such activities as cellular signaling, gene regulation, and development. Most of these genes have been previously identified in other addiction research, providing support to the idea that genetic variants are involved in vulnerability to substance abuse.

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