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Genetic Markers Identified for Alcohol Response in UCSF Gallo Study
Date:12/9/2008

Researchers at the UCSF Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have identified a region on the human genome that appears to determine how strongly drinkers feel the effects of alcohol and thus how prone they are to alcohol abuse.

(Vocus) December 9, 2008 -- Researchers at the UCSF Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have identified a region on the human genome that appears to determine how strongly drinkers feel the effects of alcohol and thus how prone they are to alcohol abuse.

The researchers found that a DNA sequence variation, known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), on chromosome 15 is significantly associated with the level of response to alcohol and could signal the genetic factors that affect alcohol abuse, according to findings published in the Dec. 8 online edition of the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

The research investigated two sentinel SNP markers - RS1051730 and RS8034191 -that previously had been associated with nicotine dependence and lung cancer and found a strong association with the first marker, according to Raymond L. White, PhD, director of the Gallo Center and senior author on the paper.

"We know that the level of response to alcohol is heritable and think there are genetic factors behind 40 to 60 percent of alcohol dependence, but until now, the chromosomal locations of these factors have not been clear for the most common forms of alcohol use disorders," White said. "By understanding which portion of our genetic makeup influences our response to alcohol, we can begin to understand what type of treatments might be most successful in helping reduce alcohol use disorders."

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