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Does the desire to consume alcohol and tobacco come from our genetic makeup?

sibling pair was affected by hypertension (high blood pressure) and dyslipidemia (high lipids levels in the blood). (These variables were important because the excessive use of alcohol and tobacco may cause cardiovascular disorders like hypertension, so finding the genomic determinants behind alcohol and tobacco use may point to novel mechanisms for blood pressure modification by these substances.) The volunteers were from the Saguenay-Lac-St. Jean region of Quebec, Canada. The locale, which is relatively isolated, somewhat genetically homogenous, and has kept genealogical records of its citizens since the 17th-century, makes the study of complex genomic traits like these easier.

Phenotyping for alcohol and tobacco use was conducted using questionnaires. The researchers used a dense map (three haplotypes per cM; r2>0.4), generated by merging 58000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and 437 microsatellite markers, to identify sex-specific and non-specific linked and associated areas.

Summary of Results

The researchers reported the following results:

  • using the information from the questionnaires, the researchers found sex differences in prevalence of alcohol (17.3% in females and 38.3% in males) and tobacco (22.2% in females and 28% in males) use

  • a common locus (an identifiable location on a chromosome) for alcohol and tobacco was found on chromosome (chr) 1. Also on chr 1, in an area believed to be involved with diastolic blood pressure (DBP), they found a locus for smoking.

  • on chr 3, in the area identified as being involved with pre-math stress DBP, they found a locus for alcohol

  • on chr 4, inside gene GRID2, researchers found linked and associated SNPs for smoking moreover they found associated SNPs inside these gene for alcohol in males

  • female-specific candidate SNPs were found inside the HTR2C gene for smo
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Contact: Donna Krupa
DKrupa@The-APS.org
301-624-7209
American Physiological Society
10-Aug-2007


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