Conclusion: Special issue on genetic and alcohol use disorder research with diverse racial/ethnic groups: Key findings and potential next steps

Am J Addict. 2017 Aug;26(5):532-537. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12585.


Background and objectives: This special issue brings together papers focusing on a wide range of topics relevant to the research and understanding of the role of race/ethnicity and genetic variation for the susceptibility of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Methods: The key findings from the issue's 10 articles are reviewed and organized here around three topics: I: addictive behaviors and potential environmental influences; II: a focus on four racial/ethnic groups; and III: special methodologies.

Results: Several potential next steps in improving effective research strategies are highlighted: (1) implementing best practices for outreach and community engagement may reduce reluctance to participate; (2) recruiting adequately sized and racially/ethnically diverse samples will require new collaborations with investigators who successfully work in diverse communities; (3) identifying and assessing environmental influences that are both unique to, and common among, racial/ethnic groups may inform preventions for AUD; (4) use of standardized measures will facilitate the generation of larger samples and meta-analysis of research findings; and (5) use of better analytic approaches and experimental methods will improve replication in gene finding research and help advance new areas of research.

Conclusions: Genetic research of AUD in diverse racial/ethnic populations is advancing. The articles in this issue examined the general theme of including diverse population groups in genetic studies and offered potential strategies for addressing some common problems.

Scientific significance: Greater inclusion of diverse racial/ethnic populations in this research is important to ensure that the benefits of new knowledge and technology are equally shared. (Am J Addict 2017;26:532-537).

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Forecasting*
  • Genetic Research
  • Humans