Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2012 Jan 26;15(2):181-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.3018.

Recent advances in the genetic epidemiology and molecular genetics of substance use disorders.

Author information

Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Medical College of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.


This article reviews current advances in the genetics of substance use disorders (SUDs). Both genetic and environmental sources of risk are required to develop a complete picture of SUD etiology. Genetic sources of risk for SUDs are not highly substance specific in their effects. Genetic and environmental risks for SUDs typically do not only add together but also interact with each other over development. Risk gene identification for SUDs has been difficult, with one recent success in identifying nicotinic receptor variants that affect risk for nicotine dependence. The impact of genetic variants on SUD risk will individually be small. Although genetic epidemiologic methods are giving us an increasingly accurate map of broad causal pathways to SUDs, gene discovery will be needed to identify the specific biological systems. Identifying these risk genes and understanding their action will require large clinical samples, and interaction between these studies and work in model organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms

Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center