CHICAGO, DEC. 25 -- No evidence has been found to support a widely publicized study that purported to pinpoint the link between alcoholism and genetics, a researcher says.

Annabel Bolos of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said a study of 146 people found no significant difference between the number of alcoholics and non-alcoholics who had the gene that was singled out in an earlier report.

In a report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, she also said the gene appeared no more frequently in children of alcoholics than in others.

The new study appears to contradict a report published in the same journal in April that purported to offer the first evidence that a specific gene may cause alcoholism in some individuals.

That report, from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and the University of California at Los Angeles, was based on a study of the brain tissue of 35 alcoholics and 35 non-alcoholics, all deceased.

It said there was a "strong association" between alcoholism and a gene that is a receptor for dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters or chemical messengers by which the nerve cells of the brain communicate with each other.

The new study "does not support a widespread or consistent association between the receptor gene and alcoholism," Bolos said.