Current Psychiatry Reports

, 15:412

Genetic Influences on the Development of Alcoholism

Substance Use and Related Disorders (JR McKay, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-013-0412-1

Cite this article as:
Enoch, MA. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2013) 15: 412. doi:10.1007/s11920-013-0412-1
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Substance Use and Related Disorders


Alcoholism has a substantial heritability yet the detection of specific genetic influences has largely proved elusive. The strongest findings are with genes encoding alcohol metabolizing enzymes. A few candidate genes such as GABRA2 have shown robust associations with alcoholism. Moreover, it has become apparent that variants in stress-related genes such as CRHR1, may only confer risk in individuals exposed to trauma, particularly in early life. Over the past decade there have been tremendous advances in large scale SNP genotyping technologies allowing for genome-wide associations studies (GWAS). As a result, it is now recognized that genetic risk for alcoholism is likely to be due to common variants in very many genes, each of small effect, although rare variants with large effects might also play a role. This has resulted in a paradigm shift away from gene centric studies toward analyses of gene interactions and gene networks within biologically relevant pathways.


Alcohol use disordersALDH2ADH1BGABRA2GABRG1AUTS2SGIP15-HTTLPRHTR2BHTR3BHTR3ACRHR1MAOACHD13Childhood traumaGene–environment interactionsFlushing responseAddictions arrayGWASExome sequencingRNA-SeqGSACOGANESARCPharmacogenetics

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA