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date: 20 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Because of their complex social structures, behaviors, and genetic similarities to humans, nonhuman primates are useful for studying how genetic factors influence alcohol consumption. The neurobiological systems that influence addiction vulnerability may do so by acting on alcohol response, reward pathways, behavioral dyscontrol, and vulnerability to stress and anxiety. Rhesus macaques show individual differences in alcohol response and temperament, and such differences are influenced by genetic variants that are similar functionally to those present in humans. Genes in which variation moderates these phenotypes provide opportunities for modeling how genetic and environmental factors (i.e., stress exposure, individual’s sex, or alcohol response) interact to influence alcohol consumption. Studies in primates may also reveal selective factors that have driven maintenance or fixation of alleles that increase risk for alcohol use disorders in modern humans.

Keywords: gene–environment interaction, G×E, stress, alcohol, primates, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA-LPR), serotonin transporter (HTTLPR), corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH-248C/T and -2232 C/G), neuropeptide Y (NPY-1002 T/G), µ-opioid receptor (OPRM1 C77G)

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