Delay discounting is steeper for individuals who drink heavily or are alcohol dependent, but the reasons for this are unclear. Given the substantial genetic component for alcohol dependence it is not unreasonable to ask whether discounting and alcohol dependence have a genetic relationship. For there to be a genetic relationship, delay discounting must have a genetic component (heritability). A review of the human and animal literature suggests that this is the case. Other literature examining whether discounting is a correlated phenotype in individuals who are genetically predisposed to drink (family history positive individuals and selected lines of rats and mice) is mixed, suggesting that networks of genes are critical for the relationship to be seen. The identities of the genes in this network are not yet known, but research examining polymorphisms associated with differences in discounting is beginning to address this issue. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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