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Genetic Signature for Drug Addiction Revealed in New Analysis of More Than A Million Genomes

by Ricki Lewis, PhD PLOS BLOGS DNA Science, posted 13 04 2023

Drug addiction is prevalent and deadly. In the US in 2021, more than 46 million people aged 12 or older had addiction to at least one substance, yet only 6.3% received treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

A complex mix of gene variants and environmental factors lies behind the compulsion to repeatedly take a drug and increase the dose, despite knowing the dangers. Environmental influences are well known. Now a report in Nature Mental Health from an international team led by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis fills in the genetics side of the picture. They have identified shared points of variability among more than a million human genomes that track with substance use disorders.

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