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Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Nicotine Addiction

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Genetic markers for smoking initiation, smoking cessation, and heavy smoking have been identified by researchers who hope that the information could someday be used to identify individuals at high risk of nicotine addiction and match them to effective treatment, HealthDay News reported April 25.

University of North Carolina researchers found a genetic variant on chromosome 15 that appears to be related to heavy smoking, while researchers at Oxford University found that genes on chromosome 15q25 seemed to be related to the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

Icelandic researchers also found a link between chromosome 15 genes and tobacco use and identified genes related to nicotine metabolism.

Norman Edelman, a consultant with the American Lung Association, said the findings could alter perceptions about smokers, who often are blamed for their tobacco-related illnesses. “Now we can see some had to fight a genetic predilection while being addicted by an aggressive tobacco industry while they were children, as almost all smokers start as teens or preteens,” he said.

The research was published online in the journal Nature Genetics.

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