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A form of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene may protect Afro-Trinidadians from developing alcoholism

." And recently, she said, researchers have discovered that individuals of African ancestry have a form of ADH that is more active.

"These same authors have shown that young African Americans with the ADH1B*3 allele tend to have a more intense response to alcohol, and are less likely to have a positive family history of alcoholism both of which are associated with a reduced vulnerability for the development of alcohol-use disorders," said Mary-Anne Enoch, a staff scientist in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "This current study builds on those earlier studies."

"Although ADH1B*3 was identified in Indianapolis 10 years ago, there had been few studies that investigated its role in drinking or the development of alcoholism," said Ehlers. "Trinidad and Tobago is an island nation in the Caribbean comprised mainly of individuals of two separate ethnic groups of African and East Indian ancestry. Island populations often provide a unique opportunity to evaluate genetic factors as populations on these islands are often genetically 'isolated' for a number of generations and can have a more homogenous environment when compared to large heterogeneous cultures such as the United States."

Study participants were recruited from the two major ethnic groups of Trinidad: 138 alcohol-dependent individuals, as well as 98 "controls" or non-alcohol-dependent individuals matched on age, gender, education, and ethnicity. Researchers assessed all participants using the Semi-Structured Assessment for the Genetics of Alcoholism in order to gather information on demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, personal drinking, and drug-use history. Each participant was genotyped at the ADH1B locus through a blood sample, and also provided a number of other health measures.

"As predicted, we found a relatively high prevalence of the ADH1B*3 allele a full 41 percent in Afro
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25-Jan-2007


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