Saturday January 18, 2020

Scientists Discover a Genetic Variant that can Suppress the desire of Drinking Alcohol

A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk

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Representational image. Pixabay

New York, November 29, 2016: In a step that could lead to development of drugs to regulate alcohol consumption, researchers have identified a gene variant that suppresses the desire for a drink.

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“The findings are based on the largest genome-wide association meta-analysis and replication study to date mapping and comparing the genetics — the DNA — of more than 105,000 light and heavy social drinkers,” said a corresponding author of the study David Mangelsdorf, Chair of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“The study identified a variation in the beta-Klotho gene linked to the regulation of social alcohol consumption. The less frequent variant — seen in approximately 40 per cent of the people in this study — is associated with a decreased desire to drink alcohol,” he said.

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Like many complex traits, the genetic influences on brain functions affecting drinking behaviour were thought to be so small that it would be necessary to study large numbers of people in order to detect those genetic variations, Mangelsdorf said.

The study compared the genetics of light and heavy social drinkers of European ancestry participating in nearly four dozen other large population studies worldwide.

The findings, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could lead to development of drugs to help those with drinking problems.

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A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

Increased alcohol consumption is linked to two heart disease risk factors in particular — high blood pressure and obesity, according to the American Heart Association. (IANS)

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Video Shows People Casually Discussing Gene Editing

The National Academy of Sciences posted the video earlier this week

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Video, Gene, Editing
This image made from the National Academy of Sciences website on Oct. 2, 2019, shows part of a video of people discussing gene editing and designer babies. VOA

A new video that shows people casually discussing gene editing and designer babies is making waves because of who posted it: the government-funded group leading efforts to set standards for the ethically dicey science.

The National Academy of Sciences posted the video earlier this week. It also sent a tweet that it removed after criticism arose. The tweet asked, “Do you dream of having a top student or star athlete?” And it said gene editing might eventually make this possible.

Video, Gene, Editing
A new video that shows people casually discussing gene editing and designer babies is making waves because of who posted it: the government-funded group leading efforts. Pixabay

Most scientists and the academy itself oppose altering the DNA of embryos to bestow such traits.

Also Read- How to Integrate Good Coding Practices in Developers?

Last year, a Chinese researcher’s claim to have edited the genes of twin girls was widely denounced and led to new calls for oversight. The academy has formed a scientific panel to consider that. (VOA)