Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gah! To many tabs open. Thus, monkeys.

And they're mostly cool things that I've found over the past week or so that I want to write at least a little bit about. First up then, monkeys. We all know that monkeys are, by definition, cool. There's a couple of people at McGill University in Canada though that have found analogs of the various patterns of human alcohol use amongst Vervet monkeys. There are the alcoholics (who, amongst the monkeys at least, drink themselves to death quite quickly), there's the heavy steady drinkers, the moderate drinkers and the teetotallers. I can't find the links atm, but there's studies that have shown that there is a genetic factor in alcoholism, but the 3 regions in the human genome that are relevant have quite a few genes in them, making it difficult to isolate the set of genes that influence ones predisposition towards alcohol. Given that we've got something like 80% genetic similarity with vervet monkeys, one can only hope that the human regions are conserved in the vervet genome. If it is, we'll have a model to study the regions in and be able to find out what role our genes do have in alcohol consumption.

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