Behavioral and pharmacological responses of selectively bred and inbred rodent lines have been analyzed to elucidate many features of drug sensitivity and the adverse effects of drugs, the underlying mechanisms of drug tolerance and dependence, and the motivational states underlying drug reward and aversion. Genetic mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) has been used to identify provisional chromosomal locations of genes influencing such pharmacological responses. Recent advances in transgenic technology, representational difference analysis, and other molecular methods now make feasible the positional cloning of QTLs that influence sensitivity to drugs of abuse. This marks a new period of synthesis in pharmacogenetic research, in which networks of drug-related behaviors, their underlying pharmacological, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms, and particular genomic regions of interest are being identified.
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