100 Proof Gene Links

Alcohol consumption may be linked to genetics

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Why one person is inclined to drink more than another, isn't because they are just thirstier. Until now, alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver, was the only gene known to contribute to drinking style.

A newly identified gene may play an important role in explaining why individuals differ in their alcohol consumption.

"The amount one drinks may be genetically linked."

Professor Paul Elliott, School of Public Health at Imperial College London, knows that there are many factors affecting how much one drinks and knows that genes do play a factor. 

This gene identification enables scientists to study the biological mechanics affecting human drinking patterns.

Researchers and scientists at Imperial College London and King's College London found the gene, named autism susceptibility candidate 2 (AUTS2), which is also linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, was seen as influencing alcohol intake.

Two versions of the AUTS2 gene were found. The less common version was found in people who drink 5% less than the more common version.

In Depth

  • The study involved over 47,000 participants led by scientists at Imperial College London and King's College London
  • The participants gave DNA samples and answered questionnaires regarding their alcohol habits.While alcohol consumption is multi factorial, researchers know genes play an important role
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 4, 2011
Last Updated:
April 15, 2011