Photo: askmir, Flickr
Turns out there's another thing you can blame your parents for: your need for a Starbucks fix.
Yes, like receding hairlines and pendulous earlobes, it seems your daily 3 o'clock caffeine craving can also be traced back to your genes, according to new research released this week.
As USA Today reports, scientists have identified two genes that decide whether you're a double-shot-of-espresso sort of gal or a "one-cup-gives-me-the-jitters" kind of guy. Essentially, depending on whether you carry a "high-consumption" variant or "low-consumption" variant of either gene determines just how fast or slow you metabolize caffeine, and thus, just how much java juice it takes to get your motor running in the morning.
(We imagine that if you carry the "high-consumption" variant of both genes then you're probably something of a pit bull before 8 a.m.)
"It's really an incredible story," study co-author Dr. Neil Caporaso of the National Cancer Institute told USA Today. "People don't really suspect it, but genetics plays a big role in a lot of behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. And now it turns out that it has a part in how much caffeine we drink."
So why is a guy at the National Cancer Institute futzing around searching for caffeine genes?
"Because one of the genes we identified wasn't put there just to metabolize caffeine," Caporaso said. "It does a lot of other stuff, like metabolize compounds of cancer and also a whole long list of drugs. So now, we have some clear genetic markers that we can go and test to see how they might affect a host of metabolic processes."
Researchers call the genes CYP1A2 and AHR, but no doubt the marketing folks at Starbucks would like to figure out a way to call them the Venti Latte and the Venti Cappuccino.