Are alcoholic habits determined by genes?
A recently published study has revealed that a gene related to autism, called autism susceptibility candidate 2, or AUTS2, is linked to increased alcohol consumption. The AUTS2 gene is most active in parts of the brain that deal with ‘reward’ mechanisms and influence a person’s decision whether to have another drink or not.
In a study of more than 47 000 people, researchers discovered that there are two variants of the AUTS2 gene, where one variant is three times more common than the other. The study also found that individuals with the less common of the two variants drank on an average five percent less alcohol than those with the more common version.
After identifying AUTS2, the researchers examined the levels of messenger RNA present in post-mortem human brain tissue. Gene expression analysis confirms that there is a direct correlation between levels of the mRNA for AUTS2 and lower alcoholic tendencies.
To measure gene expression levels of AUTS2, a suitable and specific probe for the AUTS2 gene has to be designed. SynaProbe™ designs and selects suitable oligomer probes for a gene of interest, in this case, AUTS2. This free online application is especially more effective when used with SynaHybridise™ which verifies the specificity of the selected probe sequence.