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None of It, Though, Explains the Tiger

How much you hurt after a night of drinking may in part be due to your genes, the Guardian reports.

A pair of studies came out this year that examined the heritability of hangover severity. One study, appearing in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, looked at 13,511 male twins and asked them about their drinking behavior and hangover frequency. From this, the researchers led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Jun Dai calculated that the heritability of hangover was about 55 percent. The other study, which was in Addiction in the fall, surveyed nearly 5,000 Australian twins and pegged the heritability of hangovers at 45 percent in men and 40 percent in women.

The Australian team notes that there was an overlap between genetic variation in hangover frequency and in intoxication frequency.

At the Guardian, Sally Adams, a health psychologist at the University of Bath, notes that these studies haven't pointed to any specific gene involved in hangover risk. Future work, she says, could aim to do just that, possibly by focusing on genes already linked to alcohol use and dependence.

But, she adds, "before you go blaming your parents for that 'blinder of a hangover,' it is worth remembering that these studies suggest that differences in our experiences of hangover are only half genetic and that environmental factors (which are currently less well understood) also play an important role." 

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