Selective breeding for high and low alcohol consumption led to the establishment of alcohol-preferring (P) and alcohol-nonpreferring (NP) rat lines that differ greatly in their alcohol consumption. These lines were inbred and F2 intercross progenies were generated to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) influencing alcohol consumption. A QTL on chromosome 4 was identified with a maximum lod score of 8.6. This QTL acts in an additive fashion and accounts for 11% of the total phenotypic variability and approximately one-third of the genetic variability. Neuropeptide Y, an endogenous anxiolytic and neu-romodulator, has been mapped to this same region of chromosome 4. This study is an advance in genome analyses, demonstrating that crosses between divergent, selectively bred rat lines can be used to identify QTLs. Localization of a gene influencing alcohol consumption may have important implications for the etiology of alcohol abuse and alcoholism in humans.