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Sex genes in addiction?

Study links faster habit formation in females with genes on sex chromosomes

Edyta Zielinska
Sex differences in addictive behavior, long linked to female hormones, may also be driven by genetic factors, according to a new study published online in Nature Neuroscience."I think [the study is] very cool," said Ronald See at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was not involved in this research. The investigators have established a simple method for teasing out sex and hormonal differences that can now be applied to behavioral tests, he said. A now-classic study that compared male and female responses to cocaine showed that females were more sensitive to the drug's reward effects during the estrus phase of their menstrual cycle, establishing the theory that hormone levels influence addictive behavior. But the contribution of sex chromosomes was not previously examined because there was no technique for separating hormonal factors from genetic ones.Jane Taylor of Yale University and colleagues identified a naturally occurring mutant mouse in...

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