Doubt cast on gene link to binge-drinking

A liquor industry-backed organisation promoting responsible drinking says a study linking a specific gene to alcoholism is only one part of tackling the problem.

The Tomorrow Project, also known as Cheers!, is supported by the Brewers Association, Distilled Spirits Association and New Zealand Winegrowers, which together represent 1300 businesses.

Research on the gene link was published in the US Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences and found a link between a specific gene and alcoholism.

King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry researcher Gunter Schumann says the gene known as RASGRF-2 increases the likelihood of heavy drinking.

"If people have a genetic variation of the RASGRF-2 gene, alcohol gives them a stronger sense of reward, making them more likely to be heavy drinkers,” he says.

But Tomorrow Project leader Jessica Venning-Bryan says the research is one piece of the puzzle in determining what causes alcoholism.

“It plays a role in building the picture of the multitude of factors that contribute to someone’s likelihood to become a problem drinker,” she says.

Ms Venning-Bryan says a number of genes as well as the RASGRF-2 gene are believed to play to role in predisposing people to addictions. She adds that other factors such as peer approach and family role modelling are also important.

“The determinants of drinking behaviour are complex and we need to take a holistic approach to reducing alcohol related harm.”

For example, she says a 2011 UK study found children who have seen their parents drunk are twice as likely to get drunk repeatedly themselves.

For the gene study, scientists removed the RASGRF-2 gene from mice and then analysed how they reacted to alcohol. It then analysed brain scans of teenage boys who drank.

1 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

1 Comment & Question

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Another load of nonsense - since when has drunkenness been genetic.
Everyone of us and indeed society as a whole need to own up and agree that we individually are responsible for all of our own actions and the decision that we make, all have consequences of various kinds.,

  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot


Sym Price Change
USD 0.7352 0.0033 0.45%
AUD 0.9162 0.0024 0.26%
EUR 0.6181 0.0078 1.28%
GBP 0.5450 0.0038 0.70%
HKD 5.7714 0.0651 1.14%
JPY 82.5060 0.8690 1.06%


Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1310.9 3.470 2017-09-19T00:
Oil Brent 55.2 -0.260 2017-09-19T00:
Oil Nymex 49.5 -0.330 2017-09-19T00:
Silver Index 17.2 0.123 2017-09-19T00:


Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7765.4 7819.2 7764.5 0.70%
NASDAQ 6465.6 6467.8 6454.6 0.10%
DAX 12550.9 12593.2 12561.8 0.06%
DJI 22349.7 22386.0 22331.3 0.18%
FTSE 7275.2 7289.9 7275.2 -0.05%
HKSE 28099.3 28149.4 28051.4 0.27%
NI225 20299.4 20310.5 20299.4 0.05%
ASX 5713.6 5713.6 5713.6 -0.08%