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Kenyada Williams Spit for Science 24 March 2014 Mentor: Dr. Dick Title: My friends made me do it: peer deviance, alcohol, and GABRA 2 Abstract The Spit for Science research study aims to understand how genetic and environmental factors unite to influence substance use and environmental health. This research was done in order to determine the relationship between the GABRA2 gene and alcohol use along with the effects of peer deviance and amount of consumption. To determine these results, the Spit for Science research team has collected survey questions and DNA samples from voluntary first year participants at Virginia Commonwealth University in spring 2011. We are examining the amount and frequency of average alcohol consumption in conjunction with the amount of deviancy shown in the majority of ones peers. We also examined 8 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS) in the GABRA2 gene for significance in increased alcohol consumption among students who drink. The regression results showed zero correlation between peer deviance and the frequency of alcohol consumption. In addition, we were also unable to identify a moderating effect of peer deviance on the relationship between alcohol use and GABRA2 variation. Since GABRA2 is most commonly associated with more severe alcohol-related outcomes, such as Alcohol Dependence, further analyses must be done in order to determine the genes relationship with simple or limited alcohol use.
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