Gene network likely behind alcohol abuse

Gene network likely behind alcohol abuse
Highlights

Gene network likely behind alcohol abuse, The reason why some people turn alcoholic could be due to a network of genes, finds research.

The reason why some people turn alcoholic could be due to a network of genes, finds research.

The findings could lead to future treatments and therapies for alcoholics and help doctors identify people who are more likely to become alcohol dependent, possibly even before the onset of heavy drinking.

"This provides the most comprehensive picture to date of the gene sets that drive alcohol dependence," said R. Adron Harris from The University of Texas at Austin.

By comparing patterns of genetic code from the brain tissue of alcoholics and non-alcoholics, the researchers discovered a particular set of genes co-expressed together in the individuals who had consumed the most alcohol.

Specifically, certain sets of genes were strongly linked as networks in alcoholics but not in non-alcoholics.

"We now have a much clearer picture of where specific traits related to alcohol dependence overlap with specific expressions in genetic code," Harris added.

The new research represents the first time scientists used bioinformatics technology of RNA sequencing to identify the specific group of different genes that, expressed together, are highly correlated with alcohol dependence.

"We hope our model can serve as a type of Wikipedia of alcohol dependence, helping to break down the complexities of alcohol dependence and becoming a reference for future research into drug therapies," said lead author of the study Sean Farris, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Texas.

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