Alcoholism Study Examines Correlation Between Genetics and Behavior

A Rutgers study is looking into whether certain people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. NJToday’s Mike Schneider sat down with Dr. Jay Tischfield, Director of the Human Genetics Institute at Rutgers University, to discuss the study.


Tischfield says that 1/2 dozen genetic markers have already been discovered which seem to increase the chances of one becoming an alcoholic. Despite the genetic markers, Tischfield is quick to add that personal decisions have a lot do with behavior.

According to Tischfield, a survey about the drinking patterns of 46,000 people was conducted for the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcoholism and Related Conditions (NESARC). Saliva samples from those surveyed were taken, says Tischfield. From those samples, a simple genetic analyses will be performed. As time progresses and technology advances, Tischfield says researchers will be able to look at the entire DNA sequence to determine if there are correlations between specific genome sequences with behaviors.