ADH2 and alcohol-related phenotypes in Ashkenazic Jewish American college students

Behav Genet. 2001 Mar;31(2):231-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1010261713092.


A variety of genetically influenced alcohol-related phenotypes relate to risk for alcohol dependence. In Asians, variation in the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH2) gene relates to alcohol dependence, alcohol consumption, and reported alcohol-related symptoms, even after controlling for variation in the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) gene. The association of ADH2 polymorphisms with alcohol-related behavior, however, has not been well characterized in non-Asians. This study evaluated 84 Ashkenazic Jewish American college students to determine the prevalence of the ADH2*2 allele (0.31). Carriers of ADH2*2 reported significantly fewer drinking days per month. ADH2*2, however, was not related to alcohol use disorders, alcohol-induced flushing and associated symptoms, number of binge drinking episodes in the past 90 days, maximum number of drinks ever consumed, or self-reported levels of response to alcohol. Results suggest that Ashkenazic Jewish Americans with ADH2*2 alleles drink less frequently, which might contribute, in part, to the overall lower rates of alcoholism in this population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jews / genetics*
  • Male
  • Phenotype*
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • Risk
  • Students / statistics & numerical data


  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase