Researchers in Scotland have recently published results in Scientific Reports based on an experiment meant to observe the amount of coffee people drink daily, while looking at whether or not they have a certain variation of the gene PDSS2. PDSS2 has been linked to the breakdown of caffeine in the body, and a certain variation may cause the caffeine to break down more slowly which in turn allows a longer presence in the body, and ultimately less coffee consumption. The study was carried out in Italy and the Netherlands and people were surveyed based on the amount of coffee that they drank per day. Out of the 1000 people surveyed in Italy, it was discovered that the people who had the specific variation in the PDSS2 gene drank on average 1 less cup of coffee per day since the caffeine lasted longer in their systems. Out of the 1700 people surveyed in the Netherlands, the results were less significant but the findings were still that those with the variation drank slightly less coffee on average per day.
The scientists hypothesized that the PDSS2 gene may work by blocking the expression of the certain enzymes that are meant to break down caffeine. By affecting this process, the caffeine is able to stay in the system longer, creating less of a desire and need to drink more coffee in order to feel its effects. Although the scientists admit that more research needs to be done on the topic, this study provides a good foundation to understanding how certain genes may work. If we are able to study genes and their variations in this way, we will be more prepared on how to fix certain medical issues when they arise because it all starts at the basic level of what is in our DNA. Millions of people worldwide claim that they are "addicted" to coffee, but what if it has something to do with, and can be manipulated through, genetics and heredity? This topic is very important to our understanding of variations of genes and through further research may yield some very interesting results.