Addiction Gene Puts White Females at Risk of Developing Addiction

Addiction Gene Puts White Females at Risk of Developing Addiction

Scientists at Yale University have identified an “addiction gene” that puts Caucasian women at high risk of alcohol or drug abuse. The findings paves the way for a DNA test that could warn people who might be at risk of becoming dependent on alcohol and/or drugs.

In a study of 3,627 volunteers, the researchers found that women of European origin with a mutated version of a gene known as PKNOX2 were almost twice as likely to become substance abusers than those without the variant. However, no such link was found among black people or men.

“We have found a genome-wide significant association of a composite substance dependence with a mutation in the PKNOX2 gene in white women,” said epidemiologist Dr. Xiang Chen of Yale University.

The gene was linked with alcohol addiction in mice in research published several years ago, but has not been reported before as being associated with substance dependence in humans.

“Our findings make an important contribution in reporting PKNOX2 as a candidate gene for substance dependence, particularly for white women in the sample,” Chen said.

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