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Behav Genet. 2001 Mar;31(2):231-9.

ADH2 and alcohol-related phenotypes in Ashkenazic Jewish American college students.

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  • 1San Diego State University/University of California, USA.


A variety of genetically influenced alcohol-related phenotypes relate to risk for alcohol dependence. In Asians, variation in the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH2) gene relates to alcohol dependence, alcohol consumption, and reported alcohol-related symptoms, even after controlling for variation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) gene. The association of ADH2 polymorphisms with alcohol-related behavior, however, has not been well characterized in non-Asians. This study evaluated 84 Ashkenazic Jewish American college students to determine the prevalence of the ADH2*2 allele (0.31). Carriers of ADH2*2 reported significantly fewer drinking days per month. ADH2*2, however, was not related to alcohol use disorders, alcohol-induced flushing and associated symptoms, number of binge drinking episodes in the past 90 days, maximum number of drinks ever consumed, or self-reported levels of response to alcohol. Results suggest that Ashkenazic Jewish Americans with ADH2*2 alleles drink less frequently, which might contribute, in part, to the overall lower rates of alcoholism in this population.

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