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Readers question the biology of alcoholism and more

Your letters and comments on the September 3, 2016, issue of Science News

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4:36pm, October 19, 2016

Gene and tonic

Lab rats bred to drink a lot or hardly at all have revealed 930 genes linked to a preference for alcohol, a recent study shows. Tina Hesman Saey reported the findings in “Rats offer DNA clues to a­lcoholism” (SN: 9/3/16, p. 8).

John M. Wozniak Jr. wondered if the drinking rats were truly alcoholic, or if they gained nutritional or energy b­enefits from the alcohol.

The rats show the same clinical signs of alcohol withdrawal as humans, suggesting physical dependence, says study coauthor William Muir of Purdue University. “If the rats were just using the alcohol as an energy source and had no other effects, those withdrawal

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