The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is alcoholism genetic?  (Read 718 times)

Offline Atomic-S

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 928
  • Thanked: 18 times
    • View Profile
Is alcoholism genetic?
« on: 16/07/2016 05:07:18 »
At a church group meeting the question may come up: Is a person born alcoholic, or do you become alcoholic?  I would appreciate it if you could clarify.
What do you think?


 

Offline exothermic

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 481
  • Thanked: 22 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is alcoholism genetic?
« Reply #1 on: 16/07/2016 23:21:31 »
"Early epidemiological studies revealed infants with FASD-like features in the absence of maternal alcohol, where the fathers were alcoholics."

"Prenatal alcohol exposure alters expression of gene subsets, including genes involved in neural specification, hematopoiesis, methylation, chromatin remodeling, histone variants, eye and heart development."

"Alcohol can directly influence epigenetics through alterations of the methionine pathway and subsequent DNA or histone methylation/acetylation. Alcohol also alters noncoding RNA including miRNA and transposable elements (TEs)."

http://journal.frontiersin.org/researchtopic/1941/genetics-and-epigenetics-of-fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorders#overview

 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4105
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is alcoholism genetic?
« Reply #2 on: 17/07/2016 04:29:23 »
Alcohol is broken down by Alcohol Dehydrogenase and a series of other enzymes, whose structure and activity is dictated by their genes.

If an individual has a very active form of alcohol dehydrogenase, but a low-activity form of aldehyde dehydrogenase, then aldehyde will build up in tissues, causing a person to become ill, and possibly turning them off alcohol.

Note that a fetus does not express significant amounts of alcohol dehydrogenase, which is likely to contribute to the susceptibility of babies to maternal alcohol consumption. Alcohol levels in the fetus remains high even after the mother has cleared the alcohol from her system.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_metabolism#Gene_expression_and_ethanol_metabolism

There is some suggestion that some gene variants may make an individual susceptible to addictions in general:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholism#Genetic_predisposition_testing
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8128
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is alcoholism genetic?
« Reply #3 on: 17/07/2016 08:48:28 »
Alcohol is broken down by Alcohol Dehydrogenase and a series of other enzymes, whose structure and activity is dictated by their genes.

If an individual has a very active form of alcohol dehydrogenase, but a low-activity form of aldehyde dehydrogenase, then aldehyde will build up in tissues, causing a person to become ill ...

and become red ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_flush_reaction#Genetics
« Last Edit: 17/07/2016 08:50:58 by RD »
 

Offline Villi

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 50
  • Thanked: 2 times
    • View Profile
Re: Is alcoholism genetic?
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2016 05:41:16 »
I wouldn't say it is all genetic. There are certainly environmental factors that can make a person develop alcoholism, such as exposure to alcohol. No alcohol = no alcoholism.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Is alcoholism genetic?
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2016 05:41:16 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums