Kenneth R. Warren, acting director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, says researchers identified genes and pathways that influence one's pattern of brain electrical activity.
The discovery may be a useful biomarker for more genetically complex traits and diseases such as alcoholism, Warren says.
"This important advance sustains our hope for the potential of genome-wide association techniques to further the study of complex genetic disorders such as alcoholism," Warren says in a statement.
The study used American-Indians as study participants because they share a high-degree of genetic similarity and common environmental exposure.
The study found several genes were linked to the amplitude, or height, of two of the four characteristic electrical frequencies that make up the brain wave patterns found in electroencephalogram recordings.
The findings are published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.