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Smoking May Be in Your Genes
Date:4/25/2010

Findings may someday help in development of prevention efforts, experts say,,

SUNDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- For some people, quitting smoking could be especially difficult because their dependence may be explained in part by genetics, three new studies suggest.

One of the reports, part of a trio of findings published online April 25 in Nature Genetics, found three genetic regions that were associated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

"One region was associated with smoking initiation, and one variant was associated with smoking cessation," said study co-author Helena Furberg, a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina. "The genetic variants on chromosome 15 that were associated with heavy smoking lie within a region that contains nicotine receptor genes, which other scientists have previously associated with nicotine dependence and lung cancer."

The findings came from an analysis of phenotypes of 74,053 people.

More research needs to be done before these findings can be translated to the clinic, Furberg said. "At this time, getting tested for these variants will not tell you anything meaningful about your risk of smoking or ability to quit smoking," she said. But in the future, researchers might be able to use these genetic variants to predict the effects of different smoking cessation treatments, she added.

"Until this goal is realized, all smokers should be encouraged to quit, regardless of genotype," she said.

In the second report, a research team led by Clyde Francks from Oxford University tested the human genome for genes associated with cigarette smoking.

Based on an analysis of more than 40,000 people, they found that a group of genes on chromosome 15q25 is associated with the number of cigarettes that people smoke per day.

"Understanding the genetics of smoking addiction should have important implications f
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