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Love coffee? It's all in the genes

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Like many, a cup of coffee is as much a part of my morning routine as is brushing my teeth. New research published in PLoS Genetics shows that I can thank my DNA for craving that morning latte.

A team of investigators from the National Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the entire genome of more than 47,000 middle-aged Americans and identified two genes associated with caffeine intake - CYP1A2, previously linked to the metabolism of caffeine, and AHR, involved in the regulation of CYP1A2. People who carried a particular version of these two genes were much more likely to consume caffeine.

From a HealthDay News piece:

"It's really an incredible story," said study co-author Dr. Neil Caporaso, branch chief of genetic epidemiology at the National Cancer Institute. "People don't really suspect it, but genetics plays a big role in a lot of behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. And now it turns out that it has a part in how much caffeine we drink."

The researchers also told ABC News that the findings could be used "as a new tool to study physical effects influenced by caffeine, including exercise, sleep, anxiety and many other medical conditions. And they "hope to study why people react differently to caffeine and how the drug can impact other conditions like diabetes and heart disease."

Photo by Larry Vincent

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