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A genetic risk factor for substance abuse

Genetic association studies investigating the role of the +118A allele of the human-opioid receptor gene in risk for alcohol dependency have produced inconsistent findings, possibly because of the failure to recognize sampling methodology difficulties inherent in association studies of polygenic disorders. The authors examined the frequency of the AA genotype and A allele in several groups of substance-dependent cases, unrestricted controls, and super controls screened for the use of alcohol and cigarettes. Their findings and analyses suggest that the OPRM1 +118 polymorphism is a general risk gene for substance dependence, but is not specific to a particular substance. The nature of the conferred risk is likely to be in use of multiple substances, but it is not yet determined if the risk could be expressed in severity of use of any particular substance. The contribution of the gene to risk for substance dependence is small, and is detected most easily in studies that use control samples that are screened for all forms of substance dependence.


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Contact: Karl Lorenzen
molecularpsychiatry@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-6739
Molecular Psychiatry
18-Feb-2002


Page: 1

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