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Young age at first drink may affect genes and risk for alcoholism
Date:9/18/2009

t there may be some truth to both hypotheses."

Agrawal says studying twins offers advantages when attempting to learn about genetic and environmental influences on alcohol dependence. Since identical twins share 100 percent of their DNA, differences in drinking behavior between a pair of twins must come from environmental factors. Similarities between identical twins tend to be influenced by genes and family environment.

"Particularly identical twins offer us the opportunity to study the perfect natural experiment of genetically identical individuals whose drinking trajectories are modified by their shared and unique life experiences," she explains. "They are important assets in the study of complex behaviors, such as alcohol consumption."

The study results will be published in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, but they are available online through the journal's Early View.


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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