Alcohol and love

Me and my beloved one

It’s Christmas time, that means lots of dinners with relatives, colleagues and friends. You can also read the last sentence as: “You will drink so much alcohol!”

Recently, Nature Communications published a paper by Howe and collaborators. They were interested in studying a possible correlation between alcohol consumption and mate selection.

I am sorry to convey this news, but mate selection is not random or related to love at first sight, but it is somehow coordinated by our genes. Two individuals in a couple are more similar (genetically speaking) than would be expected by chance (due to assortative mating).

One of the genetic features involved in the mate selection is alcohol consumption.

The researchers asked the two components of more than 40000 UK couples to self-report their alcohol consumption and studied their genetic variance of ADH1B. ADH1B is a gene involved in the metabolism of alcohol.

Basically, some people have a version of it, which allows them to drink a lot. On the contrary, other people have a version of the gene, which make them feel alcohol unpleasant, and making those people low alcohol consumers.

By crossing the data of self-report alcohol consumption and genetic features, the researchers discovered that people with the same version of the ADH1B gene are more likely to be a couple. To conclude, alcohol, does indeed influence mate selection.

Let me add my personal thought:

Find a man/woman, who drinks like you and you will stay happily in love for a long time!


Howe et al., “Genetic evidence for assortative mating on alcohol consumption in the UK Biobank”, Nature Communication (2019), 10:5039, doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12424-x

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