Genetics and alcoholism: how close are we to potential clinical applications?

Quickfall, Jeremy; el-Guebaly, Nady
June 2006
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry;Jun2006, Vol. 51 Issue 7, p461
Academic Journal
journal article
Rapid advancement of genetic knowledge has provided a wealth of data demonstrating a significant contribution of genes to the development of alcoholism but has suggested little in the way of clinical applicability. Twin and adoption studies suggest that 50% to 60% of the development of alcoholism is due to heritable factors, and linkage and association studies have identified chromosomal regions and individual genes that likely contribute to the development of this condition. Most of these genes are related to neurotransmitter systems and to alcohol metabolizing enzymes. We briefly review the evidence for this before discussing intermediate phenotypes of alcoholism under genetic control, pharmacogenetic aspects of alcoholism treatment, and the possibility of future clinical applications based on these areas.


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