What's the story?

People with blue eyes might be more likely to become dependent on alcohol, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics.

How did they reach this conclusion?

Arvis Sulovari and Da-wei Li, genetic researchers from the University of Vermont, analysed 1,263 white Americans with alcohol dependency problems. They discovered that dependency appeared to increase as eye colour lightened - with blue being the most dependent and brown being the least.

According to a press release, the study "outlines the genetic components that determine eye colour and shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use".

However, they're not entirely sure why this phenomenon exists.

Are there any other studies backing them up?

The University of Vermont researchers believe their study is the first to analyse a direct link between alcoholism and eye colour.

However, a 2000 study among female drinkers also asserted that those with lighter shades of eye colour were more likely to be alcohol dependent.

Other studies have also shown that we can determine a whole range of things according to eye colour - including ancestry, pain threshold, personality traits, trustworthiness and susceptibility to disease.

The two dependency studies both feed into a wider debate over whether alcoholism is caused by nature or nurture (e.g. socio-economic status) with the search for the elusive "alcohol gene" continuing.

According to Medical Daily, the team plans on further research into the topic and hopes their findings might help to diagnose and treat alcoholism in future.

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