Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic and environmental influences on alcohol consumption among rhesus monkeys

23.02.2006


There is little doubt that alcohol-related disorders in humans are genetically based. The influence of environmental factors, however, remains unclear. Given that studies of humans are complicated by a multitude of cultural and day-to-day-living factors, researchers in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research use rhesus monkeys to examine genetic and environmental influences on alcohol consumption. Results indicate that, just as with humans, both genetic and environmental factors contribute to variation in alcohol consumption among the non-human primates.



"Rhesus macaques provide a good model for many human diseases due in part to their phylogenetic closeness," said Joseph G. Lorenz, research associate at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and corresponding author for the study. "Also, like humans, they are highly social, which is important for diseases like alcoholism where there are social factors affecting alcohol consumption. And, finally, because we can control their social environment and precisely measure their exposure to alcohol, whereas human studies often rely on self-reported consumption patterns."

Researchers examined data drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study of genetic and environmental factors affecting the neurobiology, behavior and alcohol consumption among rhesus macaques. For this particular analysis, study authors investigated factors that may have contributed to variation in alcohol consumption among 156 monkeys during a period of 10 years when they were considered adolescents (between 2 and 4 years of age). All belonged to a single extended pedigree, and received identical early rearing backgrounds and subsequent treatments. Alcohol consumption was measured during unfettered and simultaneous access to both aspartame-sweetened (8.4% v/v) alcohol-water solution as well as water for one hour each day during early afternoon for a period of five to seven weeks.


"This study demonstrates that additive genetic factors contribute to the observed inter-individual variation in the consumption of alcohol in rhesus," said Lorenz. The term "additive genetic factors" refers to that portion of total genetic effects that is solely due to the presence or absence of a gene’s given alleles. For example, additive genetic variance accounts for the genetic component of resemblance or non-resemblance that may exist among relatives.

"Additive genetic effects account for 20 percent of the total variation, leaving 20 percent of the variance attributable to ’residual environmental effects’ not accounted for by the experimental treatments and covariates identified in the study," said Lorenz.

In earlier research, Lorenz and his colleagues had discovered that early rearing experiences (mother- versus peer-reared) during the first several months of life among infant rhesus monkeys had later effects on alcohol consumption. "Two percent of the total variation in alcohol consumption depended on whether the monkeys had been reared by their mothers or not," he said, "with mother-reared animals drinking significantly less than others." This more recent study, added Lorenz, shows that this effect – while statistically significant – is much smaller than additive genetic effects.

"Identifying a genetic component to alcohol consumption in this important animal model is a precursor to searching for the specific regions of the genome for genes that influence alcohol consumption," said Lorenz. "Many of these linkage studies have been carried out in human groups, but there is always the problem of precise measurement of phenotype and controlling for environmental variation in human studies … which is not as great an issue in animal studies."

Joseph G. Lorenz, Ph.D. | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alcoholism-cer.com/
http://www.coriell.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>