Tuesday, June 30, 2015

People with blue eyes might have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics, according to a unique new study by genetic researchers at the University of Vermont

The work, led by Arvis Sulovari, a doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biological sciences, and Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Dawei Li, Ph.D., is the first to make a direct connection between a person's eye color and alcohol dependence. "This suggests an intriguing possibility - that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis," Sulovari says. The authors found that primarily European Americans with light-colored eyes - including green, grey and brown in the center - had a higher incidence of alcohol dependency than those with dark brown eyes, with the strongest tendency among blue-eyed individuals. The study outlines the genetic components that determine eye color and shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use. But, Li says, "we still don't know the reason" and more research is needed.

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