Research NewsBehavioral Genetics

New Clues to Alcoholism Risk

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Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1348-1349
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1348b

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Summary

Last week, researchers in the multicenter Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) reported coming up with some new "hot spots" in the human genome where "alcoholism genes" might be located and firming up a link between alcoholism and a certain type of genetically influenced brain wave. In addition, one biologist reported finding "absolutely no evidence" for the controversial hypothesis that a gene encoding a particular variant of a receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine increases a person's risk of alcoholism and other addictions: In a study of 105 families of alcoholics, the gene was not transmitted any more often to alcoholics than to nonalcoholics. The COGA researchers have, however, performed linkage studies that have revealed other candidate genes that may increase the risk of alcoholism.