The risk for addictions (substance use disorders [SUDs]) differs from person to person. These differences may be due to various factors, which may ultimately be traced to hereditary (genetic) and environmental causes. Genetic research takes into account both genetic and environmental factors, because all individual characteristics develop according to a genetic program as it unfolds under the influence of environment. The genetic program consists of genes, which are parts of DNA molecules found in almost all cells of the organism in their nucleus, in the structures called chromosomes. Humans have 23 different pairs of chromosomes. Each chromosome of a pair may have a different or the same variant of a gene. These variants are called alleles. Because some of the alleles may cause differences in ...

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