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Spit for Science: the VCU Student Survey aims to understand how genes and the environment come together to influence substance use and emotional health. Many studies have investigated the potential relationship between genetic variants in the GABRA2 gene and an individual’s subjective level of response to alcohol. Evidence suggests that individuals with specific GABRA2 variants have a lower subjective level of response to alcohol thus causing them to drink more, which in turn increases their risk for becoming alcohol dependent. The goal of the current study was to investigate the association between specific GABRA2 variants and alcohol use frequency in a sample of college students. VCU freshman in the 2011 fall semester were given the opportunity to complete the Spit for Science survey and provide a DNA sample. Linear regression was used to test the relationship between alcohol use frequency and GABRA2 variation. We also investigated the possible moderating effect of peer deviance on this relationship. The proposed questions addressed in this study are highly important because they may provide us with information on how to potentially help young adults from developing alcohol dependence.

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Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Amy Adkins


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

GABRA2 and frequency of alcohol consumption in a college population