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Spit for Science: the VCU Student Survey aims to understand how genetic and environmental factors come together to influence substance use and emotional health. Previous studies in the literature have shown a relationship between variation in GABRA2 and substance use. It is of great interest to find out whether or not variations in the GABRA2 gene are associated with illicit drug use in this sample. It is hypothesized that polymorphisms in GABRA2 will have an association with increased use of illicit substances. In the fall of 2011, incoming VCU freshman had a chance to take the Spit for Science survey and provide a saliva sample. Survey responses regarding substance used were combined into a sum score based on how many categories of illicit drugs the student reported trying at least once. We will specifically look at nine single nucleotide polymorphisms in GABRA2. Linear regression will be used to determine an outcome. Other environment conditions such as peer deviance may also be potential moderation variables and will also be examined Results from this study can greatly help people in rehabilitation facilities and help them overcome addiction.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)


Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Amy Adkins

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Danielle Dick


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

The Relationship between GABRA 2 and Illicit Substance Use