deCODE Genetics Finds New Gene Variant for Heart Attacks

deCODE Genetics Finds New Gene Variant for Heart Attacks

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted May 4, 2007 in DNA and Disease

red dress ahadeCODE Genetics has done it again. Last month, together with DNA Direct, they released a direct-to-consumer genetic test for diabetes risk and announced that they’d found more genes for diabetes. Today, deCODE released results showing an association between a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs10757278, on chromosome 9p21 and greater risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The results have been confirmed by another study indicating that there must be a susceptibilty gene in that region.

Two tumor suppressor genes, CDKN2A and CDKN2B, lie near the SNP. These genes are involved in the pathways that lead to atherosclerosis – plaque build-up in heart vessel walls that often lead to heart attacks. deCODE plans to market a genetic test for this particular variant as well as other variants for heart disease. It could be particularly helpful for determining prevention and treatment strategies for patients who have pre-existing risk factors such as a positive family history of cardiovascular disease. And, eventually, we will have personalized medicine that takes into account a person’s specific genetic profile, including genes involved in heart disease.

But the utility of DNA testing at this stage is still up for debate. I’m sure Steve at The Gene Sherpa would agree with Tim Chico of the University of Sheffield:

This is very interesting scientifically, but it won’t change the way patients are investigated or treated at the moment.

We must not forget that 90 per cent of the risk of a heart attack comes from things like smoking, cholesterol, diet, lack of exercise and diabetes.

Whatever our genetic make-up, we can all reduce our chances of heart disease by improving our lifestyle.

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Comment by Steve Murphy MD Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, it is true. There is much more work to do on this Loci. We still have to evaluate things. There are more than 40 genes on or near 9q21 listed in OMIM.


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Comment by Suicyte

I have somehow missed this post. I am currently discussing the 9p21 region in a mini-series on my blog Suicyte Notes. I will add a link here in the next part of the series, due Wednesday.


[...] have mentioned this earlier, but I have missed two interesting blog postings on this subject [1,2], found at “Eye on [...]


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Comment by About DNA

nice Article, you thing dna is going to be the next frontier?


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