Could you become addicted to something? Your genes reveal all

2008

Challenge

Genetic influences on quitting smoking and beginning use of common addictive substances are well documented in the scientific literature. Doctors recommend prevention interventions for individuals who may be at risk of substance abuse. However, a test is needed to indicate the most urgent candidates for prevention intervention.

Advance

IRP researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) developed the first genetic test for smoking cessation and discovered that the test’s score is able to robustly separate individuals who rapidly accelerate use of addictive substances from those who do not.

Impact

This is the first test to identify individuals at risk for addiction, who might benefit most from prevention efforts since they are more likely to escalate use if they start and have more difficulty quitting if they develop regular use, abuse, and dependence.

Publications

Uhl GR, Liu QR, Drgon T, Johnson C, Walther D, Rose JE, David SP, Niaura R, Lerman C. (2008) Molecular genetics of successful smoking cessation: convergent genome-wide association study results. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 65(6), 683-93.

Drgon T, Montoya I, Johnson C, Liu QR, Walther D, Hamer D, Uhl GR. (2009) Genome-wide association for nicotine dependence and smoking cessation success in NIH research volunteers. Mol Med. 15(1-2), 21-7.