Alcohol tolerance 'switch' found

October 21, 2009,

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a genetic "switch" in fruit flies that plays an important role in making flies more tolerant to alcohol.

This metabolic switch also has implications for the deadly liver disease cirrhosis in humans. A counterpart human gene contributes to a shift from metabolizing to the formation of fat in heavy drinkers. This shift can lead to fatty liver syndrome - a precursor to cirrhosis.

In the study, published in the October print issue of the journal Genetics, the research team measured the time it takes for flies to stagger due to while simultaneously identifying changes in the expression of all their genes. They used statistical methods to identify genes that work together to help the flies adapt to alcohol exposure. In looking at corresponding human , a counterpart gene called ME1 was associated with alcohol consumption in humans, as people with certain variations of the gene showed a tendency to drink stronger alcoholic beverages.

Dr. Robert Anholt, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Biology and Genetics at NC State and the senior author of the study, says the research has possible clinical implications.

"Our findings point to metabolic pathways associated with proclivity for that may ultimately be implicated in excessive drinking," he said. "Translational studies like this one, in which discoveries from model organisms can be applied to insights in human biology, can help us understand the balance between nature and nurture, why we behave the way we do, and - for better or worse - what makes us tick."

More information: "Alcohol sensitivity in Drosophila: translational potential of systems genetics", Tatiana V. Morozova et al., Published: October 2009 in Genetics.

Source: North Carolina State University (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Importance of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta discovered

October 15, 2018
Working with researchers from Stanford University and St. Anna Children's Cancer Research, researchers from Jürgen Pollheimer's laboratory at the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have ...

Team's study reveals hidden lives of medical biomarkers

October 12, 2018
What do medical biomarkers do on evenings and weekends, when they might be considered off the clock?

Researchers find a 'critical need' for whole genome sequencing of young cancer patients

October 12, 2018
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has re-defined the gold standard for diagnostic testing of childhood cancer patients in the precision-medicine era and has implemented the testing for new cancer patients. The findings ...

Novel genetic study sheds new light on risk of heart attack

October 12, 2018
Loss of a protein that regulates mitochondrial function can greatly increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), Vanderbilt scientists reported Oct. 3 in the journal eLife.

Study: DNA websites cast broad net for identifying people

October 11, 2018
About 60 percent of the U.S. population with European heritage may be identifiable from their DNA by searching consumer websites, even if they've never made their own genetic information available, a study estimates.

First two papers based on studies using full set of data in the UK Biobank published

October 11, 2018
Two teams of researchers have independently published papers describing research conducted using the full set of data in the UK Biobank—both in the journal Nature. The first team comprised researchers from the U.K., Australia ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.