September 2002

Gene linked to lower alcoholism among Jews

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Genes, and not religious conviction, explain why Jewish people typically have fewer drinking problems than non-Jews, researchers said Monday.

A study has shown that a genetic mutation carried by at least one- fifth of Jews appears to protect against alcoholism.

The same inherited trait is fairly common in Asian people, but is much rarer in white Europeans. The findings could help explain why Israel has one of the lowest levels of alcoholism in the developed world.