Tried quitting smoking but just can’t seem to shake off the habit? Don’t worry, it may not simply be weak willpower – it could be down to your genetic make-up.
A research study indicates a third of people from the Caucasian “racial” group who smoke have gene variations that make it harder for them to give up. The first thing from this study is the somewhat controversial science of dividing humankind into three racial groups: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid.
The validity of this is questioned by many scientists (including this journalist); nonetheless, it remains a common anthropological classification and is the term used by the researchers of the new study. The researchers hail from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China.
Putting this issue to one side, what the research seems to be saying is that for a sizable proportion of the population, there is a genetic factor that makes it harder for them to quit smoking.
The research is based on a gene called ANKK1. This gene regulates the release of dopamine, the chemical involved in the brain’s reward centers, where dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter. The premise says a variation with ANKK1 influences addiction to nicotine. The researchers claim this premise is partially supported from an analysis of 23 studies, taking in some 11,000 people.
By partially supported, the researchers report they found no association for the population as a whole. However, according to New Scientist, when they analyzed data relating to “white people” only they found approximately two-thirds of…