Classical genetic studies suggest strong complex genetic contributions to a predisposition to abuse multiple addictive substances. Until recently, there were no reproducible genome scanning data identifying chromosomal positions likely to contain allelic variants that predispose the carrier to illegal substance addiction. Nominal results of linkage-based genome scanning studies for ethanol and nicotine addictions failed to display much agreement. Our recent data from association-based genome scans for illegal addictions, and reanalyses of previous results now provide a substantial body of converging results. The 15 reproducible chromosomal loci identified here are good candidates to harbor allelic variants that alter human substance abuse vulnerabilities. We discuss several approaches to identifying the specific gene variants that underlie these convergent association and linkage observations, and the impact that these convergent observations should have on understanding important human addictive disorders.
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