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What Is Addiction?$
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Don Ross, Harold Kincaid, David Spurrett, and Peter Collins

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262513111

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262513111.001.0001

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Genetic Influences on Addiction: Alcoholism as an Exemplar

Genetic Influences on Addiction: Alcoholism as an Exemplar

Chapter:
(p.52) (p.53) 3 Genetic Influences on Addiction: Alcoholism as an Exemplar
Source:
What Is Addiction?
Author(s):

James MacKillop

John E. McGeary

Lara A. Ray

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262513111.003.0004

This chapter concentrates on several sources of evidence indicating substantial genetic influences on alcoholism from various methodological approaches, and reviews the recent efforts to determine intermediate phenotypes, or “endophenotypes.” It shows that genetic factors affect alcoholism, and reveals the potent genetic influences on an array of alcohol-related phenotypes, in addition exhibiting the significance of considering genes responsible for a drug’s pharmacokinetics as part of an individual’s genetic liability for addiction. The behavioral and physiological disturbances observed in individuals with alcoholism, and addicts more generally, may be syndromal, but they vary tremendously and seem to be multifariously affected by a large number of genes exerting typically small effects.

Keywords:   alcoholism, endophenotypes, genes, pharmacokinetics, genetic liability, addiction

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