Genes May Determine Alcohol Dependency, Study Finds

By Paul Gaita 03/09/15

Researchers have drawn a clearer picture illustrating the connection between alcoholism and genetic coding.

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New research has determined that a link may exist between genetics and a dependency on alcohol, according to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry.

Using bioinformatics technology—an interdisciplinary field which combines computer science, engineering and statistics to study biological data—researchers at the University of Texas at Austin examined the genetic profiles of brain tissue from two subject groups: patients with alcohol dependency and those with no dependency.

Individuals in the former group who consumed the largest amount of alcohol and experienced the most significant struggle against alcohol dependency during the study period also displayed a set of genetic proteins that tended to be “co-expressed together."

According to co-author R. Adron Harris of the UT Austin Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, the study provides a much “clearer picture” of the connection between traits associated with alcoholism and genetic coding.

Researchers also hope that the information provided by the study will give doctors the insight to screen patients for potential alcohol dependency, and serve as a reference for future drug therapy research.

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