New evidence furthers the claim that alcoholism is determined by your genes, and increases the likelihood that in the future we will be able to identify potential candidates likely to suffer.
Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have identified hundreds of genes and genetic codes in rats that appear to play a role in increasing the desire to drink alcohol.
In the trials rats were carefully bred to either drink large amounts of alcohol or to reject it (mimicking all criteria of human alcoholism).
By breeding these animals specifically for these experiments, scientists were able to avoid issues that have plagued other alcoholism studies.
These issues included the inability to account for all family history of drinking and non-genetic economic; social and cultural factors that lead to heavy drinking.
After the rats had been bred, they were subject to genome analysis that found the drinking and non-drinking groups of rats had key regions of genetic code that differed from each other.
These were large segments of code, rather than any particular one “alcoholism” gene.
Lead researcher William Muir, said: “This research highlights that alcoholism in rats has a strong genetic component and is influenced by many hundreds of genes, each with small effects.
“There is no single gene responsible for alcoholism. However, critical regulatory pathways involving several of the genes discovered were found”.
These findings, published in the PLOS Genetics journal, suggest that there are potential pharmalogical solutions to alcoholism in humans in the future.
And medical professionals will be able to accurately predict those at high risk of becoming alcoholics.