SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals. For that reason it is important to remember that like all information we provide, the studies we describe in SNPwatch are for research and educational purposes only. SNPwatch is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice; you should always seek the advice of your physician or other appropriate healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or other medical condition.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, were published online yesterday.Senevirante et al tested six variations in the serotonin transporter gene for association with drinking intensity in 275 alcoholics seeking treatment – 165 were Caucasian and 110 were Hispanic. Women made up 21.5% of the sample.In the Caucasian sample only, the researchers found that having one or two copies of a C at rs1042173 led to less intense drinking, defined as number of drinks per drinking day. There was no difference in number of drinks averaged over 90 days. People with the AA genotype drank an average of about 11 drinks per drinking day, while those with the AC or CC genotype drank about eight and a half.(23andMe customers see their data for rs1042173 using the Browse Raw Data feature)Previous research has linked a separate variation in the serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) with alcohol dependence, but results have been conflicting.The study’s authors point out that in all cases, the number of drinks people had exceeds the threshold for what is considered heavy drinking (five or more standard drinks per day for men and four or more for women). They also note that their study looked only at alcoholics seeking treatment, who may not be representative of alcoholics in general.In the future, the researchers say they hope to investigate whether rs1042173 can be used to provide more effective treatment for alcoholism by predicting whether medications that affect the serotonin system will work for an individual.