Learning about addiction from the genome

Nature. 2001 Feb 15;409(6822):834-5. doi: 10.1038/35057015.


Drug addiction can be defined as the compulsive seeking and taking of a drug despite adverse consequences. Although addiction involves many psychological and social factors, it also represents a biological process: the effects of repeated drug exposure on a vulnerable brain. The sequencing of the human and other mammalian genomes will help us to understand the biology of addiction by enabling us to identify both genes that contribute to individual risk for addiction and those through which drugs cause addiction. We illustrate this potential impact by searching a draft sequence of the human genome for genes related to desensitization of receptors that mediate the actions of drugs of abuse on the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Tolerance / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genomics
  • Human Genome Project
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / genetics*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • GTP-Binding Proteins