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Risk for smoking addiction may be coded in genome

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A new study finds that people with a particular version of a gene involved in the brain’s reward system are more likely to succeed in quitting smoking.

Compared with people who have other versions of this gene, those with the lucky DNA were also more likely to abstain from cigarettes. The study in Translational Psychiatry was a meta-analysis and supports a role for heredity in the likelihood that someone will become a smoker and how difficult it will be, once starting to smoke, to eventually quit.

The primary objective was to determine whether the variant  DRD2/ANKK1 gene Taq1A has any effect on smoking cessation. ANKK1 happens to be next to the DRD2 gene, which helps the brain recognize dopamine, the chemical that’s produced in the brain to reinforce useful behaviors like eating and having sex. Addictive drugs, including nicotine, also cause dopamine levels to spike.

People inherit either an A1 or A2 version of this gene fragment from each of their parents. That means there are three possible genotypes: two A1s, two A2s or one of each. When it comes to quitting smoking, the helpful type is A2/A2. Those with two A2s had better odds of kicking the habit than those with one or two A1s.

Read full, original post: Smoking: Is The Fault In Our Genes?

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