Tiny worms may offer new clues about why it’s so hard to quit smoking

Tiny worms may offer new clues about why it’s so hard to quit smoking

Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute found that a previously dismissed genetic mechanism may contribute to nicotine dependence, and to the withdrawal effects that can make quitting smoking so difficult.

Scientists in the lab of Shawn Xu examined withdrawal responses in the millimeter-long roundworms Caenorhabditis elegans, which get hooked on nicotine just like humans.

In the findings, scheduled to be published Nov. 7 in Cell Reports, the researchers identified specific genes and microRNA that play an essential role in how the roundworms develop nicotine dependence and withdrawal responses — clues that may carry over to the mammalian realm.

Full story at Science Daily