Complex Genetics of Alcoholism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Genetic factors play a significant role in the risk for alcoholism, although environmental influences are also important. Alcohol use disorders are defined by symptomology and are heterogeneous, making the identification of specific genes that affect risk difficult. Several strategies have been applied to identify genes that contribute to alcoholism and alcohol-related phenotypes, including candidate gene studies, family-based linkage studies, and genome-wide association studies. Variants in the alcohol metabolizing genes ALDH2 and ADH1B confer some protection against alcohol dependence. Common variants in other genes, including ADH4, ADH1C, GABRA2, GABRG1, CHRNA5, CHRNA3, CHRM2, PECR, AUTS2, PDYN, OPRK1, and KCNJ6, have been associated with alcohol dependence or other alcohol-related phenotypes. Many of these results await further replication. Meta-analysis of large datasets is ongoing and will be critical to the identification of additional loci. Sequencing approaches are underway to identify rare variants contributing to alcoholism and alcohol-related traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurobiology of Alcohol Dependence
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780124059412
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase
  • Common variants
  • Endophenotype
  • Genetics
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Opioid receptors
  • Rare variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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  • Cite this

    Edenberg, H. J., & Foroud, T. (2014). Complex Genetics of Alcoholism. In Neurobiology of Alcohol Dependence (pp. 539-550). Elsevier Inc..