Coffee habits may be genetic, study reveals

People with a newly identified genetic variant in their DNA, called PDSS2, might be inclined to drink fewer cups of coffee than others, according to a small study published in the journal Scientific Reports on Thursday.

"I actually was very surprised to find a new gene for coffee consumption," said Nicola Pirastu, a chancellor's research fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, and lead author of the study, CNN reported.

"We believe that this PDSS2 genetic variant is impacting coffee drinking through the regulation of the speed at which caffeine is metabolized," he said. "It has been observed before that higher levels of PDSS2 inhibits the expression of the genes metabolizing caffeine and thus the speed at which caffeine is degraded."

According to commentators, the findings added to existing research suggesting that people's espresso habits might be embedded in their genes, Pirastu said.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, around 64 over cent of US adults drank at least one cup of coffee a day.

The new study involved 370 people from a small village in southern Italy and 843 people from six villages in northeast Italy, who self-reported their daily coffee-drinking habits.

The study uncovered that people with the PDSS2 variant reported consuming fewer cups of coffee than people without the variant.

Further analysis revealed that expression of the PDSS2 gene appeared to inhibit the body's ability to break down caffeine. According to commentators, if that was the case, people with this variant would require less coffee to get a strong caffeine jolt as the caffeine would linger in their system for a longer time.

To confirm their findings, the researchers conducted a similar study of 1,731 people from the Netherlands. The study revealed similar results, though the number of cups of coffee people drank was slightly lower.

''The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,'' Piratsu said in a statement.