OBJECTIVE: The role of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in alcoholism was
assessed by genetic association studies separately in five ethnic groups in
Taiwan. METHOD: Restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) and
dinucleotide repeat polymorphisms (DNRP) were used to determine MAOA and
MAOB alleles in male alcoholic patients and nonalcoholic comparison
subjects among Han Chinese and four aboriginal groups. RESULTS: Significant
associations of alcohol dependence with MAOA alleles (RFLP and DNRP) were
found among the Han Chinese, but not among the aboriginal groups. No
significant association with MAOB DNRP alleles was found in any group.
CONCLUSIONS: Genetic heterogeneity may underlie alcoholism among different
ethnic groups in Taiwan, and MAOA mutations may play a role in
susceptibility to alcoholism among Han Chinese.