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Alcoholism in Women—Are There Genetic Signs?

Alcoholism and Genetic Variants

The results of a Spanish study regarding the frequency of genetic variants linked to alcoholism has associated certain genes with alcohol-dependent women.[1] Many studies have previously stated that genetic factors play a role in alcoholism susceptibility; however, the study conducted by the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country was large, and included a considerable female population.1

AlcoholismStudy of Alcoholism Genes

David Celorrio-Herrara of the BIOMICS Group at UPV/EHU states that his researchers focused on studying the different genetic variants in participants who suffer alcohol abuse issues, specifically those genes that are involved in alcohol metabolization and those that encode receptors linked to the dopaminergic system.1 The prevalence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or the variation of a single letter on a specific gene point, was studied for both.1

Genes with SNPs within the group of those that metabolize alcohol included ADH1A-ADH1B-ADH1C, ADH4, ADH6, ALDH2, and CYP2E1.1 Genes with SNPs within the group of those that encode receptors linked to the dopaminergic system included TH, SLC18A2, DRD1, DRD2, DRD3, MAOA, and COMT.1 These genes were analyzed in two groups of participants: one who were excessive consumers of alcohol and a second that were alcohol dependent.1

Alcoholism Genes Specific to Women

Results state that polymorphisms on the ADH1B and DRD2 in both men and women increased their genetic risk of alcohol abuse.1 However, only in women did a polymorphism on MAOA and DRD3 increase the risk.1

More research is needed to solidify the conclusions of this study; however, it was the first time that the genetic signs of alcoholism were studied in women.1


[1] Bulegoa, K. (2013, February 19). Genetic signs of alcoholism in women studied for the first time. Basque Research. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=4380&hizk=I#.UTStcFfsUaY Alcoholism.

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