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East Asians genetically less prone to alcohol poisoning

WESTERNERS are more vulnerable to alcohol poisoning than East Asians due to their genetic difference, Shanghai researchers said yesterday.A dehydrogenase gene, ADH1B, which dehydrogenates alcohol and turns it into aldehyde in human body, appears more widespread among the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans.About 70 percent of Chinese have the enhanced gene variant, ADH1B-H7, while most Westerners don't have, according to a research finding announced by Shanghai Fudan University.However, this does not mean that Chinese can drink more because another gene which converts aldehyde into an acetic acid has weakened in the bodies of about 70 percent of Chinese.Aldehyde, which makes people flush, is toxic and harmful to human organs if staying in the body for long time, said Professor Li Hui, the lead researcher of Fudan's School of Life Sciences.The acetic acid can be absorbed by human body through metabolism and can make people happy.

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