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Some of us (columnist Dan Dunn pictured here) might be able to hold our liquor. How 'bout you? Genetics might have something to do with that.

We all know at least one: loud and obnoxious when he or she drinks, perhaps with a penchant for vomiting at some point during (or throughout) the evening, and an annual tendency to be the laughingstock of the office holiday party. Known universally as the “bad drunk,” this figure usually receives little sympathy from friends and colleagues. But might there be a genetic reason for this behavior?

Researchers at the University of Helsinki recently determined that certain drinkers become excessively and obnoxiously drunk after a relatively small amount of alcohol due in part to a gene in the serotonin 2B receptor. While scientists are still learning about the role of this receptor, they believe that it is linked to impulsive behavior and that a mutation can make individuals more prone to impulsive behavior in general, but especially while drinking. Lead study researcher Roope Tikkanen mentions that people with this mutation are also more likely to struggle with self-control or mood disorders.

We’re not ones to make excuses for the distastefully drunk here at Food Republic. On the other hand, we recognize this as a potentially golden opportunity to explain ourselves the next time we consume one too many. “It’s a genetic mutation!” just strikes us as a much more valid excuse than murmuring confusingly about only having had one or two drinks.