Genetic factors play an important role in the intergenerational transmission of alcohol use disorder. Typically, when we think about how genetic risk is passed from generation to generation, we think about the genotypes that children inherit from their parents. Yet, this represents only one potential way that genetic risk may be transmitted in families. This is because parental genotypes can also influence the type of familial environment that children experience. In this study, we tested whether aspects of the childhood/adolescent home environment (parental relationship discord and parental divorce) mediated genetic risk for alcohol problems in families across generations. Consistent with our expectations, we found that parents transmit genetic risk for alcohol problems to their children not only directly, but also indirectly via exposure to higher levels of interparental discord and relationship dissolution.
Thomas NS, Salvatore JE, Kuo SI, Aliev F, McCutcheon VV, Meyers JM, Bucholz KK, Brislin SJ, Chan G, Edenberg HJ, Kamarajan C, Kramer JR, Kuperman S, Pandey G, Plawecki MH, Schuckit MA, Dick DM, COGA Collaborators (2022) Genetic nurture effects for alcohol use disorder. Molecular Psychiatry. PMID: 36253439; DOI: 10.1038/s41380-022-01816-z.