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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Alcoholism may be in the genes, for flies

Fruit flies carry a gene - aptly named 'hangover' - that appears to help them become tolerant to alcohol. Tolerance is thought to promote dependence, so if a similar gene is found in humans, it might lead to drugs to treat or prevent alcoholism.

In the journal Nature, researchers report that only fruit flies that carry a functioning 'hangover' gene develop a tolerance for alcohol.

"If humans have a gene that has a function similar to that of 'hangover,' we could interfere with the function of such a gene," thereby preventing people from developing addiction to, alcohol, study author Dr. Ulrike Heberlein of the University of California at San Francisco told Reuters Health.

However, the researcher cautioned that this is still just speculation.

Read more: Alcoholism may be in the genes, for flies


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