Based on data obtained from one of the largest family sets of its kind, Yale School of Medicine researchers have identified a genetic linkage for dependence on drugs such as heroin, morphine and oxycontin.
The lead author, Joel Gelernter, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry, said the researchers recruited a sample of 393 small families, most with at least two individuals with opioid dependence. They then searched genetic signposts throughout the entire genome in an effort to identify markers that, within the same family, would show that individuals who share the illness also share marker alleles, or gene variants.
This information allowed the team to identify where genes influencing opioid dependence are located. Gelernter said the researchers found evidence of gene linkage for opioid dependence. They also found strong evidence of linkage in the family groups for the symptom cluster traits characterized by dependence on substances other than opioids, specifically, alcohol, cocaine and tobacco.
Jacqueline Weaver | EurekAlert!
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