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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • Linkage;
  • Genetics;
  • Level of Response

Background: A low level of response (LR) to alcohol seems to relate to a substantial proportion of the risk for alcoholism and to have significant heritability.

Methods: This report describes the results of a genome-wide segregation analysis for the first 139 pairs of full siblings by using an alcohol challenge protocol as a direct measure of LR. Subjects from 18 to 29 years old were selected if the original screen indicated they had an alcohol-dependent parent, reported a personal history of drinking but had no evidence of alcohol dependence, and had a full sibling with similar characteristics. Body sway and Subjective High Assessment Scale scores were measured at baseline and at regular intervals after the administration of a measured dose of alcohol. Participants and available parents were genotyped for 811 microsatellite markers, and resulting data were analyzed with a variance component method.

Results: Nine chromosome regions with logarithm of the odds ratio (LOD) between 2.2 and 3.2 were identified; several had previously been implicated regarding phenotypes relevant to alcoholism and the LR to alcohol. Several regions identified in the previous linkage study by using a retrospective self-report questionnaire were potentially confirmed by this study. The strongest evidence was on chromosomes 10, 11, and 22.

Conclusions: Several chromosomal areas seem to relate to the low LR to alcohol as a risk factor for alcohol dependence.