Mammalian Genome

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 352–365 | Cite as

The genomic determinants of alcohol preference in mice

  • Boris Tabakoff
  • Laura Saba
  • Katherina Kechris
  • Wei Hu
  • Sanjiv V. Bhave
  • Deborah A. Finn
  • Nicholas J. Grahame
  • Paula L. Hoffman


Searches for the identity of genes that influence the levels of alcohol consumption by humans and other animals have often been driven by presupposition of the importance of particular gene products in determining positively or negatively reinforcing effects of ethanol. We have taken an unbiased approach and performed a meta-analysis across three types of mouse populations to correlate brain gene expression with levels of alcohol intake. Our studies, using filtering procedures based on QTL analysis, produced a list of eight candidate genes with highly heritable expression, which could explain a significant amount of the variance in alcohol preference in mice. Using the Allen Brain Atlas for gene expression, we noted that the candidate genes’ expression was localized to the olfactory and limbic areas as well as to the orbitofrontal cortex. Informatics techniques and pathway analysis illustrated the role of the candidate genes in neuronal migration, differentiation, and synaptic remodeling. The importance of olfactory cues, learning and memory formation (Pavlovian conditioning), and cortical executive function, for regulating alcohol intake by animals (including humans), is discussed.


Alcohol Consumption Olfactory Bulb Inbred Strain Piriform Cortex Olfactory Tubercle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported in part by NIAAA, NIH (U01 AA016649-INIA Project; U01 AA016663-INIA Project; U01 AA013478-INIA Project; R24 AA013162), and the Banbury Fund.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Tabakoff
    • 1
  • Laura Saba
    • 1
  • Katherina Kechris
    • 2
  • Wei Hu
    • 1
  • Sanjiv V. Bhave
    • 1
  • Deborah A. Finn
    • 3
  • Nicholas J. Grahame
    • 4
  • Paula L. Hoffman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Colorado Denver School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Preventive Medicine and BiometricsUniversity of Colorado Denver School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral NeuroscienceOregon Health and Science University and VAMC ResearchPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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