New Excessive Alcohol Consumption Genes Identified

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Binge_drinking300_1 A newly published research study funded the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has identified new genes that may play a role in the overconsumption of alcohol. The report appears in today’s Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to to the NIAAA, grant recipient Dr. Susan E. Bergeson, Ph.D., of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and a multi-site team of scientists participating in NIAAA’s Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA) employed mice that were specially bred to have a high or low preference for alcohol to study gene expression in their brains. Numerous pathways, as well as genes whose functions are currently unknown, may contribute to the genetic predisposition to drink high amounts of alcohol, notes Dr. Bergeson. “Our results will allow us to begin to focus on targets never previously implicated in excessive drinking. For example, genetic studies have shown that chromosome 9 contains genes that may regulate alcohol consumption in mice. Our analyses allowed us to narrow our focus from thousands of genes in that region to twenty.” (Image Credit: BBC)