Scientists say there’s a gene linked to boozing

The landlord of the Rose and Crown, in North Parade, Oxford – a fine establishment –  said yesterday it wouldn’t be too long before a pint cost £5, especially as prices are going up next week and a packet of fags costs £7.20, making for a very expensive night out, if you drink and smoke.

He might well be re-assured by research from Imperial College which suggests, Karl Popper style, that a gene is linked to drinking booze – or “consuming alcohol” as the boffins have it.

Imperial claimed that discovering a common genetic variation linked to how much you booze could help us all to understand why people drink at all.

The specific gene is dubbed “autism susceptibility candidate 2” – and as the name suggests, it had been linked to autism but the scientists admit they haven’t a clue what its function is.

There are two versions of the gene and one is three times more common than the other – the less common gene indicates that folks drink a fifth of a pint less beer than people with the other.

“Alcohol consumption is known to be partly determined by genes but until now the only gene known to make a notable contribution was the gene encoding alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver.”

Paul Elliott, a professor at Imperial admitted there were many factors that indicated how much beer a person chugs – he said: “The difference that this particular gene makes is only small, but by finding it we’ve opened up a new area of research into the biological mechanisms that control drinking.”

26,000 volunteers gave DNA samples and they were cross checked against another 21,000 people.  

People, said Professor Gunter Schumann, a psychiatry professor at King’s College,  drink alcohol for very different reasons. “Understanding the particular behaviour influenced by the gene identified helps us better understand the biological basis of these reasons. This is an important first step towards the development of individually targeted prevention and treatments for alcohol abuse and addiction.”

And we thought – obviously mistakenly – that most people drink alcohol for much the same reason. To get tiddly. Imperial’s research was funded by the soon to be defunct NHS. It’s enough to turn you to drink. Except that, pretty soon now, one pint at the Rose and Crown in North Parade Avenue, will cost you an arm and possibly a leg.  Or ish it poshibly an arm and a lego? The chury is out…