Researchers Link Gene, Heart Disease

Common variation dramatically increases risk
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2007 7:50 AM CDT
Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute have identified a piece in the DNA sequence that increases a person's risk for heart disease by up to 40 per cent.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A gene that can more than double the risk of heart disease, especially in relatively young people, is present in about half of those of European descent, researchers say. The discovery, reported this week, raises hopes of more accurate genetic testing for heart disease—the world's leading cause of death—but not for prevention or treatment.

Two competing teams of researchers, working independently, identified the gene. Carrying one copy raises heart-disease risk by as much as 20 percent; for people with two copies, that number can triple. One doctor says she had no idea the other group was ready to go public but is "very happy they came out with the same result."