Understanding alcoholism is an urgent medical problem, as alcohol abuse causes many deaths annually. Alcoholism is a disease that affects both the individual and society at large, resulting in massive social costs. Treatment programs are not only difficult to obtain but also expensive.
There has been a lot of research done around this area, but researchers at the UCSF Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center determined that there is a particular region on our genome which determines how strongly drinkers feel the effects of alcohol.
The results of this study in 2008 provided important information about a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) on chromosome 15 – and it turns out that people with that variation show significantly higher levels of response to alcohol in terms of body weight.
We know that the level of response to alcohol is heritable and think there are genetic factors behind 40 to 60 percent of alcohol dependence, but until now, the chromosomal locations of these factors have not been clear for the most common forms of alcohol use disorders.Raymond L. White, PhD, director of the Gallo Center
The research was based on 300+ Caucasians from the San Diego Sibling Pair Project.
Their response to alcohol was measured by the Subjective High Assessment Scale, which uses aspects like body swaying and how people report that they feel.