Alcohol and tobacco genes found to be common among Europeans, Africans and Asians

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has learned that the genes responsible for smoking and drinking are characteristic not only of the ancestors of Europeans, but also of other races.

Alcohol and tobacco use are considered inherited behaviors. These bad habits are responsible for 15 and five percent of deaths worldwide, respectively: they increase the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Although they drink and smoke in any corner of the planet, studies of genome-wide associations were carried out mainly on the ancestors of Caucasians.

An international team of scientists, which included specialists from the Universities of Minnesota, Duke, the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine (USA), the Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia), the University of Tartu (Estonia), the National Defense Medical Center (Taiwan) and many other scientific organizations, decided to fix this shortcoming and conducted a large comprehensive study on the genes of drinking and smoking.

Data analysis was based on 3.4 million people, 21 percent of whom were non-Europeans. In addition to the previously discovered genes, more than 1,900 additional genes associated with alcohol and tobacco use have been identified using machine learning.

Most of these genes were similar in people with European, African, American, and Asian ancestry.

“The fact that the same genes are associated with addictive behavior in the ancestors of different peoples looks promising.

Having more reliable and diverse data will help us develop risk factor prediction tools that can be applied to all populations,” said Professor Menzhen Liu of the University of Minnesota.

At the same time, the functions of most of the genes isolated by scientists are not yet known. The team intends to study their purpose and understand how they affect the risk of developing addictive behavior.

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