Progress with nonhuman animal models of addiction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nonhuman animals have been major contributors to the science of the genetics of addiction. Given the explosion of interest in genetics, it is fair to ask, are we making reasonable progress toward our goals with animal models? I will argue that our goals are changing and that overall progress has been steady and seems likely to continue apace. Genetics tools have developed almost incredibly rapidly, enabling both more reductionist and more synthetic or integrative approaches. I believe that these approaches to making progress have been unbalanced in biomedical science, favoring reductionism, particularly in animal genetics. I argue that substantial, novel progress is also likely to come in the other direction, toward synthesis and abstraction. Another area in which future progress with genetic animal models seems poised to contribute more is the reconciliation of human and animal phenotypes, or consilience. The inherent power of the genetic animal models could be more profitably exploited. In the end, animal research has continued to provide novel insights about how genes influence individual differences in addiction risk and consequences. The rules of the genetics game are changing so fast that it is hard to remember how comparatively little we knew even a generation ago. Rather than worry about whether we have been wasting time and resources asking the questions we have been, we should look to the future and see if we can come up with some new ones. The valuable findings from the past will endure, and the sidetracks will be forgotten.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-699
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volume77
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology

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