Scientists have succeeded in acquiring evidence, which indicate that there are genetic links between eye color and risk of developing alcoholism. According to a study published recently in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, light-eyed people have greater chances of becoming alcoholic.
During this new study, researchers analyzed genetic samples of 1,263 individuals who have already become victims of alcohol dependency. They found that the ones with lighter eyes, particularly blue eyes, are at higher risk of getting alcoholism.
According to study author Arvis Sulovari, this finding of the study might make something really useful possible. He feels that from now on an individual’s eye color can assist doctors and clinicians to diagnose alcohol dependence. Sulovari represents the University of Vermont as a doctoral student of molecular, biomedical and cellular sciences.
However, neither the study’s lead author Dawei Li, nor Sulovari claimed that this discovery will help in stopping alcoholism altogether. Like Sulovari, Li is also a representative of the University of Vermont. Li teaches molecular genetics and microbiology at the university.
The study’s authors feel that gathering more information about genetics involved might mean that sooner or later doctors will succeed in identifying the exact genes responsible for increasing one’s chances of developing disorders such as alcoholism just by checking that person’s hair color or eye color.
Li informed that the primary goal of him and his team is successfully identifying an individual’s chances of developing a specific disorder from his or her physical traits. He added that scientists will still have to put in a lot of effort for making that possible. In addition, Li also said that more studies will have to be carried out for confirming the findings of this preliminary study.
According to Li, disorders such alcoholism are complex in nature. Usually, they have several genes involved and also have multiple environmental triggers.
National Society of Genetic Counselors’ psychiatric disorder expert Jehannine Austin, when asked about the study, said that although the study is pretty intriguing, a lot of work is still left to be done.
However, she added that obtaining more information about the possible genetic connections might mean that soon people might start understanding different risk factors better.
Austin feels that people probably shouldn’t get nervous just because they have light or blue eyes. However, if that factor is present in combination with family history, speaking to an experienced genetic counselor might help.