(Telegraph) A gene that controls how quickly drink goes to your head has been discovered by scientists.
People with the gene are more likely to get drunk quickly but because they cannot take their alcohol are actually less likely to become alcoholics.
The gene, CYP2E1, provides the coded instructions for making an enzyme that breaks down alcohol.
Scientists found that 10 per cent to 20 per cent of the population possess a particular version of the gene that causes them to get drunk easily.
The first few drinks during a night out will leave these individuals feeling more inebriated than their friends. They are therefore more likely to stop drinking earlier.
Drugs that enhance the effect of CYP2E1 could in future be used to sensitise people to alcohol before an evening’s drinking – or even sober them up when they have had one too many, said the researchers. Scientists in the US investigated the genetics of 237 college student siblings who had one alcohol-dependent parent but were not alcoholics themselves.
They homed in on an end region of chromosome 10 where the CYP2E1 gene resides. Participants’ response to drinking was linked to their genetic make-up.