According to LiveScience's Jeremy Hsu, incoming University of California, Berkeley, freshmen who elect to be genotyped as part of the school's controversial "Bring Your Genes to Cal" program, "may get more than they bargained for if it turns up a gene deficiency responsible for what is known as 'the Asian flush.'" Individuals of East Asian decent, Hsu notes, can have two common variants for the ALDH2 gene, which codes for an alcohol-metabolizing enzyme. "One variant, ALDH2*1, functions normally, but ALDH2*2 has an inactive protein that renders the enzyme useless," he writes. Those who carry two copies of ALDH2*2 "suffer from Asian flush," and commonly experience nausea and heart palpitations upon alcoholic consumption, while carriers of a single copy of the allele "experience less severe versions of Asian flush." This, Phillip Brooks — a molecular neurobiologist at the NIAAA — told Live Science "increases your risk of esophageal cancer for the same amount of alcohol consumed, compared to someone who is able to fully metabolize the acetaldehyde."
Maybe There Are Medical Implications
Aug 06, 2010