Stash of heroin drugs on table in transparent bags with money in piles

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Researchers: Addiction may be tied to ancient retro-virus

September 25, 2018 - 3:41 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Scientists say the roots of addiction may be connected to an ancient retro-virus that pre-dates humans.

Researchers say drug users they studied were three times more likely than the general population to have remnants of the HK2 virus within a particular gene in their DNA.

The virus is found in a so-called 'pleasure gene' because it increases the activity of dopamine in the brain in about 5 to 10 percent of people today. That proportion could therefore be more disposed to addictive behavior.

The research was conducted by teams at the universities of Oxford and Athens.