Genetics of Alcohol Dependence and Social Work Research: Do They Mix?
Since completion of the mapping of the human genome in early 2000, tremendous progress has been made in the identification of many different genes associated with our health and across diseases. Although social work researchers are not expected to conduct genetic research at the molecular level, it is imperative that we are able to understand the basic genetic findings related to behavioral problems and are able to translate and integrate this information into psychosocial treatment approaches and program development. This article is an introduction and overview of genetic approaches, using studies of the genetics of alcoholism to exemplify important issues. The literature review is not comprehensive and focuses primarily on the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism project as an example of a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to the genetic study of a major health problem often encountered in social work practice.