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How many do you have a day? One, two, three? More? If you’re not one of those people who can’t function without knocking back numerous cups of coffee, chances are you have a DNA variation in a gene called PDSS2. And there you were thinking it was something to do with free will (or perhaps strong willpower).

Genetics experts including those from Edinburgh and Trieste Universities made the discovery that people with the PDSS2 variation drink less coffee than others. But apparently it isn’t the first, as previous studies have also identified genes linked to coffee-drinking habits. This particular piece of research suggests the gene variation in question reduces the ability of cells to break down caffeine. So if you have the PDSS2 variation, your body hangs on to caffeine longer than someone with an ordinary (if that’s the right word) PDSS2 gene. In other words, someone with the PDSS2 variation doesn’t have to drink as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit.

“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” says Dr Nicola Pirastu, a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute, who has called for more studies to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption.

Well I know I won’t rest until I know more about this crucial issue.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.