15:23 27 November 2013
A study published in the Nature Communications’ journal, found a Gabrb1 gene that is linked to excessive drinking. Researchers claim that a single mutation in the gene can scramble the chemical messages that inhibit drinking, compromising the body’s ability to consume alcohol in moderation.
Experiments done on mice, where scientists introduced several random mutations to the genetic code of mice, revealed that those with mutant copies preferred drinking diluted alcohol over water when compared with normal genes.
Because of the result of the study, researches conclude that some humans are more genetically at risk of alcoholism.
Dr Quentin Anstee, consultant hepatologist at Newcastle University and the joint lead author, said: "It's amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.
"We know that in people, alcoholism is much more complicated as environmental factors come into play.
"But there is the real potential for this to guide development of better treatments for alcoholism in the future."
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