Scientists find genetic link to alcohol misuse

28th May, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have identified 29 genetic variants that are found in people with a problematic relationship with alcohol.

Scientists have linked 29 genetic variants with problematic alcohol use

To uncover the genetic variations associated with alcohol misuse, a team of scientists lead by Joel Gelernter, foundations fund professor of psychiatry, and professor of genetics and neuroscience at Yale, looked for shared genes among individuals that met the criteria for problematic alcohol use.

After analysing the genes of more than 435,000 people, the team were able to identify 29 variants that were linked with alcohol misuse, 19 of which were previously unknown genetic risk factors.

The research, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, also looked for genetic factors associated with psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Gelernter and the team of researchers hope the findings will offer a greater understanding of the relationships between problematic alcohol use and certain psychiatric states.

“The new data triples the number of known genetic risk loci associated with problematic alcohol use,” said Gelernter.

“With these results, we are also in a better position to evaluate individual-level risk for problematic alcohol use.”

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