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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Genes and their affect on Alcohol response

"The study compared the brain's response to long-term alcohol drinking in two genetic variants of mice. One strain lacked the gene for a dopamine receptor, which produces feelings of pleasure and reward. The other strain was genetically normal.

In the dopamine-receptor-deficient mice, long-term alcohol drinking resulted in significant biochemical changes in areas of the brain well know to be involved in alcoholism and addiction."

These findings may help explain how someone's genetic profile can interact with the environment to produce these changes only in some individuals, but not in others with a less vulnerable genetic profile. The work supports the idea that genetic screening could provide individuals with valuable information relevant to understanding risks when deciding whether or not to consume alcohol."

Further research on the interaction between genetic and the environment will increase the understanding of addiction. This information will be imperative to the public and will help people make more informed decisions about their behaviors"




Although this does highlight a genetic link between addictive behaviour and alcohol, it does make me wonder how much we are controlled by our genes, and whether or not our free will can be compromised by our genetic makeup. Perhaps a gene would not make addiction unavoidable, but it would increase a propensity towards it. Should a person, genetically designed to become addicted to alcohol for go alcohol entirely, or is it about how we choose to behave with this propensity in mind?

Link to article

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