Hundreds of genetic variants found by UMN researchers affecting tobbaco, alcohol use - Minnesota Daily Article

January 25, 2019

Genes could be used to inform future treatments for people predisposed to addiction.


Recent University of Minnesota research discovered 566 genetic variations that are linked to tobacco and alcohol addiction.

Researchers on the study, including University researcher and faculty member in the department of psychology Scott Vrieze, discovered specific genetic locations connected to addiction potential for alcohol and tobacco. The study, which was published Jan. 14, also found that a higher genetic risk to take up smoking may lead to higher risk of various health conditions, like coronary artery disease. But a higher genetic risk for alcohol does not have the same association. 

“The question is whether the genes contribute independently to certain diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases or lung disease, or whether it’s mediated by heavy smoking,” said Dorothy Hatsukami, a University researcher specializing in tobacco addiction.

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