A study published in the journal Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers revealed that 85 percent of the African American population would like to be genetically tested for alcohol dependence. However, the group has a few things hindering them.
Researchers in public health from Howard University and Johns Hopkins University surveyed 300 African American participants. They asked the subjects hypothetically how they felt about being genetically tested for alcohol dependence and inquired about legal and ethical concerns. The collected data showed that 85 percent of the group was interested in the test. Many participants’ interest stemmed from having children who could potentially be impacted.
The researchers also discovered that people who were well-educated and had a higher income were less interested. Some of these participants stated that they were actively trying to reduce their risk in other ways, or they expressed skepticism toward accuracy, methods of testing and poor instruction following the tests results.
Genetic testing for alcohol and other substances
The researchers concluded that this data will help guide researchers in the future as they conduct genetic testing for alcohol dependence and other substances.
In the past, researchers have tried several ways to determine a person’s susceptibility to alcohol dependence. A 1999 study estimated that 50 to 60 percent of the chances for alcohol dependency are caused by genetic factors. In 2013, researchers from the University of Tuebingen in Germany concluded that epigenetic mechanisms regulate functioning between genomes and the environment, which can make a person vulnerable to the condition. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stated that multiple genes interact to form a susceptibility to alcohol. Just like there are genes that raise a person’s risk, there are genes that can lower it too.
As of yet, there is not one standard test for alcohol dependence yet.