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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Melinda A. Yang

Second Advisor

Carrie Wu


The ADH1B gene codes a protein that converts alcohol to acetaldehyde during alcohol metabolism. Two derived alleles, ADH1B*2 and ADH1B*3, lead to the accumulation of the toxic acetaldehyde and cause harmful symptoms to occur after alcohol consumption. Each has a specific geographical range. ADH1B*2 is primarily found in those with Asian ancestry, particularly East Asians, and ADH1B*3 is mainly in those with African ancestries. The history of how ADH1B*2 arose in East Asians is well studied, but little is known about the history of ADH1B*2 in other regions and the evolutionary origins of ADH1B*3. In this study, I aim to understand the evolutionary trajectories of ADH1B*2 and ADH1B*3 across different regions worldwide. I examined the geographical distribution of ADH1B*2 and ADH1B*3 in modern human populations and investigated the chromosomal region associated with the derived alleles. I discovered that the derived alleles are broadly distributed across worldwide regions, and multiple origins seem to be associated with ADH1B*2.