News

AddToAny

Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

How alcohol damages DNA

Scientists have shown how alcohol damages DNA in stem cells, to help people understand why drinking increases cancer risk.

People drinking alcohol

Much previous research looking at the precise ways in which alcohol causes cancer has been done in cell cultures.

But in this new study, researchers used mice to show how alcohol exposure leads to permanent genetic damage.

Scientists at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology gave ethanol to mice.

They then used chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing to examine the genetic damage caused by acetaldehyde, which is chemical produced when the body processes alcohol.

They found that it can break and damage DNA within blood stem cells leading to rearranged chromosomes and permanently altering the DNA sequences within these cells.

Professor Ketan Patel, lead author of the study and scientist, said: “Some cancers develop due to DNA damage in stem cells. While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage.”  

go.nature.com/2B5viw1

 

Picture credit | iStock

Related Articles

Cakes

Can cake cause epidemics?

A sugar additive used in several foods may have helped Clostridium difficile spread, according to a new study.

Crowd of people

Improving the health of future generations

Parmesher Singh explains the work that is being undertaken at UK Biobank and the impact that it is hoped to have.

Genomes DNA sequence

The 100,000 Genomes Project: it's not just about DNA

Gerry Thomas, Professor of Molecular Pathology, casts a critical eye over the 100,000 Genomes Project.*

Future antibiotics

Effective future antibiotics

Tuberculosis and other life-threatening microbial diseases could be more effectively tackled with future drugs.

Top