The link between alcohol consumption and smoking is irrefutable with the combination often a dangerous if not deadly association.

While the desire for these substances can be due environmental cues, researchers discover genomic factors also play an important role.

Adoption and twin studies have shown that the use of these substances is likely to be inherited. Such studies have provided evidence that one’s sex can influence the genetic factors for alcohol and tobacco use.

To search for the genomic determinants underlying alcohol and tobacco use, researchers examined 120 families (approximately 900 individuals).

They found an area relating to alcohol and tobacco use on chromosome 1 and an area relating to alcohol on chromosome 3. On chromosome 4 there was an area relating to smoking; sex-specific loci was also found.

According to the researchers, “We have found evidence of linkage and association for several genomic regions harboring genes with potential pathophysiological functions relating to alcohol and smoking. Our sex specific findings may also play a role in the sex differences related to alcohol and tobacco use.”

The findings are relevant because if a predilection for abuse is known before the behavior manifests, appropriate counseling and intervention could help individuals manage their natural tendencies.

Source: American Physiological Society (APS)