A NEWLY discovered addiction gene could be fuelling teenage binge drinking, research suggests.

The mutant version of the RASGRF2 gene makes the brain more sensitive to getting habit-forming rewards such as alcohol, studies have shown.

In teenage boys and mice it was closely linked to seeking alcohol.

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A group of 16-year-olds with the genetic variant drank alcohol more frequently than boys who did not possess it.

The lead scientist in the study, Professor Gunter Schumann, from King's College London, said: "People seek out situations which fulfil their sense of reward and make them happy, so if your brain is wired to find alcohol rewarding, you will seek it out."