13 genes behind heart disease uncovered

March 7th, 2011 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 7 (IANS) Scientists have uncovered 13 genes linked to increased risks of coronary artery disease (CAD).

CAD symptoms include chest pain, also called angina, shortness of breath during exercise, fast heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, nausea and increased sweating.

“This is a landmark result because we have identified so many genes and most operate using completely unknown mechanisms to us right now,” University of Ottawa Heart Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Roberts said, according to an Institute statement.

“It has opened up significant new avenues for new therapies and underlines the complexities of heart disease,” Roberts added, the journal Nature Genetics reports.

The study was conducted by a consortium of more than 100 research organizations, including the University of Lubeck (Germany), Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University (US), University of Leeds (UK) and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Called CARDIoGRAM (Coronary Artery Disease Genome-wide Replication and Meta-Analysis), researchers evaluated the genetic samples of more than 140,000 people of European descent.

Data from genetic research centres in Europe, the UK, the US and the Heart Institute were combined to provide the massive sample size, which is essential to ferret out subtle genetic indicators.

“The consortium examined more than 10 times the number of samples than the largest study ever published, so we magnified the power to detect small genetic variations,” said Roberts.

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