'I’ll have what he’s having' is a genetic response

Dutch researchers have found those carrying the long version of the dopamine D4 7-repeat genotype are more susceptible to excessive drinking triggered by sensitivity to "alcohol-related cues" including other people drinking and ads.

The study, led by Helle Larsen, a psychology graduate student at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, was published in the July Online First edition of the journal Psychological Science.

One of the first recommendations via a six-step program in battling an addiction is to change your environment and that includes your drinking friends. This research highlights that for some the change is necessary as sensitivity to social drinking cues works both negatively (can influence binge drinking) and positively (makes an individual less apt to drink).

The participants - 113 self-admitted social drinkers - were monitored during a pub lab, and non-carriers drank half the amount of alcohol as carriers when others were also drinking up. Saliva tests were used to identify the 31 gene carriers.

Larsen and colleagues found individuals that the carry long version of the dopamine D4 (DRD4) 7-repeat genotype "may increase the risk for extensive alcohol use or abuse when spending time with heavy-drinking peers," according to a July 22 announcement by the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

The researchers concluded, "whether or not people are wired to adapt their drinking to the choice and pace of others may partly depend on their genetic susceptibility to drinking cues."

During the pub lab, both those with and without the DRD4 gene variant did not opt for a second round if it wasn't initiated or enjoyed by others. In this example the authors found that those with the DRD4 gene were sensitive to the social non-drinking cues.

These findings excited Kent Berridge, PhD, a bio-psychologist at the University of Michigan in the USA, according to the magazine Science News, "If this gene-environment interaction stands, and I don't see why it shouldn't, there is every reason to expect the effect would extend to drugs besides alcohol, as well to many motivated pursuits."

Full study, "A Variable-Number-of-Tandem-Repeats Polymorphism in the Dopamine D4 Receptor Gene Affects Social Adaptation of Alcohol Use: Investigation of a Gene-Environment Interaction": http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20610847

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

    £65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

    Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

    £8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

    £14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable