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Drinking-Linked Loci

Researchers have uncovered more than a dozen genetic variants linked with excessive drinking and alcoholism, AFP Relax reports.

Yale School of Medicine's Joel Gelernter and his colleagues conducted a genome-wide association study using nearly 275,00 samples from the Million Veteran Program. The study cohort included individuals of African, East Asian, South Asian, European, and Hispanic or Latino ancestry.

As they report in Nature Communications this week, the researchers found 18 loci associated with alcohol consumption levels and alcohol use disorder. While the researchers note that there are loci that overlap between the two conditions — such as ones in ADH1B and ADH1C — there are differences between them. For instance, loci associated with alcohol use disorder were more likely to also be linked to neuronal function.

These results "may have longer term clinical implications in diagnosing risk and developing medication," Gelernter says in a statement.