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March 1996

Alcohol ResearchAt the Cutting Edge

Author Affiliations

Director National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Suite 400 6000 Executive Blvd Bethesda, MD 20892-7003

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(3):199-201. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830030017004

IT IS a happy coincidence that the Archives of General Psychiatry is presenting a superb group of articles on alcoholism in this issue. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary during this academic year, and much of the research described in these articles was supported by the NIAAA. The Editorial Board has kindly invited me to introduce this issue. I think the best way of doing that is to comment on major conceptual advances made during the last decades, with some illustrations from current research.

A SIGNIFICANT FRACTION OF VULNERABILITY TO ALCOHOLISM IS INHERITED  That alcoholism runs in families has long been known, but only since the 1970s has a mix of twin and adoption studies demonstrated that much of this vulnerability is inherited. The important Swedish adoption study of Cloninger et al1 has recently been replicated.2 What is inherited is

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