Genetics of Alcoholism

Howard Edenberg, Joel Gelernter, Arpana Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose of Review: We review the search for genetic variants that affect the risk for alcohol dependence and alcohol consumption. Recent Findings: Variations in genes affecting alcohol metabolism (ADH1B, ALDH2) are protective against both alcohol dependence and excessive consumption, but different variants are found in different populations. There are different patterns of risk variants for alcohol dependence vs. consumption. Variants for alcohol dependence, but not consumption, are associated with risk for other psychiatric illnesses. Summary: ADH1B and ALDH2 strongly affect both consumption and dependence. Variations in many other genes affect both consumption and dependence—or one or the other of these traits—but individual effect sizes are small. Evidence for other specific genes that affect dependence is not yet strong. Most current knowledge derives from studies of European-ancestry populations, and large studies of carefully phenotyped subjects from different populations are needed to understand the genetic contributions to alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Keywords

  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcoholism
  • Drinking
  • Genetics
  • GWAS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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