Alcoholism and eye color were linked in a study conducted by the University of Vermont. The researchers, who published their work in the American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, determined subjects with light-colored eyes were more likely to consume alcohol than those with dark-colored eyes — and were therefore more likely to develop an alcohol dependency.
The scientists conducted their research using a genetic database, which includes more than 10,000 individuals. As reported by CBS News, each subject was previously diagnosed with “at least one mental illness… including depression… along with alcohol or drug dependance.”
To perform the study, the researchers chose a random sample of 1,263 European-Americans from the existing database. As discussed in the published results, the subjects with light-colored eyes were more likely suffer with alcohol dependence than those with dark-colored eyes.
As reported by Medical Daily, the researchers also determined “individuals with blue eyes had the strongest incidence of alcohol dependency.”
Although more research is needed, the link between alcoholism and eye color appears to be genetic. As discussed in the study, “the genetic components that determine eye color line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use.”
A similar study, conducted by Georgia State University in 2000, also revealed a link between eye color and behavior.
To conduct their research, scientists used a sample of male subjects — who were inmates in the Georgia state prison system. For their female subjects, the scientists extracted information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics database.
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As discussed in the study, “the findings suggest a real relation between eye color and alcohol consumption. As hypothesized, light eyes were associated with alcohol use or abuse in two different samples.”
In separate studies, researchers have identified two genes — which may be related to alcohol abuse.
In 2014, scientists with the Scipps Research Institute discovered a strong link between the gene Neurofibromatosis type 1 and alcohol dependency. The research, which was conducted using mice, was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
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As reported by Psychiatric Genetics, another study linked a genetic mutation, GRM3, to alcoholism and other forms of mental illness.
Although research suggests alcoholism could be related to genetics, the topic remains a point of heated controversy.
A 2015 study, conducted by the Research Society on Alcoholism, suggests genetics do contribute to alcoholism. However, the genetic component is greatly influenced by socioeconomic factors.
The scientists all agree more research is needed. However, they hope to find a link that will help doctors identify patients who are in danger of becoming alcoholics.
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