Those wise bods over at King’s College London (our old alma mater, by the by) and Imperial have just published an intriguing spot of research which purports to have pinned down the gene linked to how we regulate our booze intake.
In their words:
Scientists have identified a gene that appears to play a role in regulating how much alcohol people drink, in a study of over 47,000 people published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The gene, called autism susceptibility candidate 2, or AUTS2, has previously been linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but its function is not known.
The gene is most active in parts of the brain associated with neuropsychological reward mechanisms, suggesting that it might play a part in regulating the positive reinforcement that people feel when they drink alcohol.
Professor Günter Schumann, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: ‘In this study we combine genetic studies with investigations of animal behaviour. Since people drink alcohol for very different reasons, understanding the particular behaviour influenced by the gene identified helps us better understand the biological basis of these reasons. This is an important first step towards the development of individually targeted prevention and treatments for alcohol abuse and addiction.’