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Will we ever find the genes for addiction?

Buckland, Paul Robert 2008. Will we ever find the genes for addiction? Addiction 103 (11) , pp. 1768-1776. 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02285.x

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Aim To assess the likelihood of finding genes which predispose to addiction and to present this information in a form accessible to the general readership of Addiction. Methods Review of the evidence that genetic factors play a significant role in the process of addiction and the proximity of the identification of these factors. Results The search for the genetic susceptibility variants for many complex illnesses has been ongoing for decades, with increased pace in the last 20 years. However, until very recently only a small number of such variants have been found. Recent studies have used several thousand samples in genome-wide association studies and the latest genotyping technology and have reported a growing number of successes, but have highlighted the need for even larger samples and new statistical methods or new experimental approaches to identify fully the genes involved in the disease process. The phenotype for addiction to drugs is not well defined, and the heritability of addiction to drugs of abuse is far from clear and may be small compared to that of many other complex disorders. The absolute requirement for the administration of drugs before addiction can occur, and other environmental factors known to have a major effect, makes the selection of both probands and controls challenging for genetic studies. Many candidate genes put forward so far as susceptibility genes may be unrelated to the underlying process referred to as addiction but, rather, are related to the propensity to take drugs in the first place. Conclusions It is the underlying biological process which changes to an alternative state following addiction, which is the target of investigation, and it is not clear that even genome-wide association studies with sample sizes a magnitude greater than those reported so far would identify the genes involved which have the largest effect. Ultimately, modern neurobiological approaches may identify this process and the genes involved, and even at this stage identifying the susceptibility variants will require both biological as well as genetic analysis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Addiction; candidate genes; disease process; genetic association; genetic linkage; susceptibility variants; taxon
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0965-2140
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 03:34

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