Ever wondered why you crave coffee and those around you don’t? Well researchers have identified a gene that could be the answer. Research was conducted by the Universities of Edinburgh and Trieste, the Burlo Garofolo Pediatric Institute in Italy, the Erasmus medical centre and PolyOmica, a data analysis company based in the Netherlands.
Researchers have identified a gene that appears to curb coffee consumption. People with a DNA variation in a gene called PDSS2 tend to drink fewer cups of coffee. This gene seems to reduce the ability of cells to break down caffeine causing it to stay in the body for longer, this means that these people would not need to consume as much coffee to get the caffeine ‘hit’.
The research looked at the genetic information from 370 people living in a small village in Italy and 843 people from six villages in north east Italy. Each person filled out a survey that asked them how many cups of coffee they drank each day. People with the DNA variation in PDSS2 tended to consume fewer cups of coffee than people without the variation.
This study was then replicated in a group of 1731 people in the Netherlands. The findings in the Netherlands were similar, although the effect of the gene on the number of cups of coffee consumed was lower. These slight differences were explained as due to the different types of coffee consumed in the Netherlands. In Italy the coffee consumed tended to be smaller cups of espresso only.
So there you have it, our urge to drink coffee may be in part due to our genes!