Addiction to smoking is a complex behavior with many inherited aspects. In a new study, scientists examined 520,000 genes in blood samples taken from people who smoked. They identified 221 genes in successful quitters that were different from genes in smokers who were unsuccessful. One of the genes, cadherin 13, is important in brain development. It controls how neurons in the brain connect and signal each other. In some people, the cadherin 13 gene may disrupt neuron connections, leaving them more vulnerable to addiction. More research into these 221 genes may lead to new drug therapies tailored to each smoker’s unique genetic makeup.
Have students view the Snapshot. Then use the following questions to guide a class discussion.
- What did this snapshot report?
- What do you know about smoking and addiction?
- Do you think some smokers have more difficulty quitting than others? Why or why not?
- With more research, how might these current findings benefit smokers who want to quit?
Students who want to learn more about tobacco and addiction can visit:http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/iquit/index.htm
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