Ernest Gallo Research Center Discovers Human Jug-Wine Gene

"Back off, I'm a scientist."

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have discovered a region of the human genome that determines how the body reacts to jug wine, according to findings announced in the Dec. 8 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The institute dedicated to jug wine's effects was established in 1980 with a grant from Gallo, the marketing and distribution whiz behind E&J Gallo winery, makers of Thunderbird, the 18-percent alcohol fortified wine that, as of today's (corner) market closing, sold for less than $4 per 750 ml bottle.

According to the study, Gallo Center researchers have identified a genomic sequence that appears to determine how strongly drinkers feel the effects of drinks such as Thunderbird, and thus how likely they are to enjoy the product on a regular basis.

"We know that the level of response to alcohol is heritable and think there are genetic factors behind 40 to 60 percent of alcohol dependence, but until now, the chromosomal locations of these factors have not been clear," said Raymond L. White, Ph.D, director of the Gallo Center and senior author of the paper, according to a UCSF press release. "By understanding which portion of our genetic makeup influences our response to alcohol, we can begin to understand what type of treatments might be most successful."

Previous studies have indicated shared genetic factors behind jug wine and nicotine enjoyment and also have connected chromosome 15 with conditions favorable to regular Thunderbird use, which made those sites a logical place to start searching for a genetic basis for alcohol response, White said.

Photo   |   Flickr user MastaBaba

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