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Annu Rev Psychol. 2002;53:435-62.

Genetic contributions to addiction.

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Portland Alcohol Research Center, Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, and VA Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, USA.


Even the most extreme environmentalists along the nature-nurture continuum in psychology now acknowledge that genes often contribute to individual differences in behavior. Behavioral traits are complex, reflecting the aggregate effects of many genes. These genetic effects are interactive, inter se and with the environments in which they are expressed. Human studies of addictive behaviors have clearly implicated both environmental and genetic influences. This review selects drug dependence as a paradigmatic addiction, and further, concentrates on the extensive literature with genetic animal models. Both traditional studies with inbred strains and selected lines and studies exploiting the new molecularly based technologies of the genomics era are discussed. Future directions for further contribution of animal models studies to our understanding of the brain dysregulations characteristic of addictions are identified.

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