The genetics of alcohol dependence
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1282, Addiction Reviews pages 39–70, April 2013
How to Cite
Rietschel, M. and Treutlein, J. (2013), The genetics of alcohol dependence. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1282: 39–70. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06794.x
- Issue published online: 2 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
- German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
- Collaborative Research Center SFB. Grant Number: 636
- alcohol dependence;
- genome-wide association studies
Alcohol consumption dates back to the Neolithic period, and alcohol dependence contributes substantially to the current global burden of disease. Despite this, optimal therapies and preventive strategies are lacking. Formal genetic studies of alcohol dependence have shown that genetic factors play as large a role in disease etiology as environmental factors. Molecular genetic studies may identify causal factors and facilitate the development of novel preventive and therapeutic approaches. Whereas earlier studies involved the use of linkage- and candidate-gene approaches, recent years have witnessed the introduction of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The present review provides a brief overview of the findings of formal genetic studies, summarizes the results of earlier molecular–genetic investigations, and presents a detailed overview of all published GWAS in the field of alcohol dependence research. To date, few genome-wide significant findings have been reported. However, through the polygenic approach, GWAS have both confirmed the existence of a multitude of novel risk genes and indicated interesting new candidates.