Three new genome-wide association studies report seven novel genes or loci associated with lipid levels in Nature Genetics. Plasma lipid levels are a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, a major cause of global mortality and morbidity.
The three papers, from teams led by James Scott, Goncalo Abecasis, and Sekar Kathiresan, each report a genome-wide association study for plasma levels, including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and total plasma triglycerides. In addition to the seven novel loci found, all of which were replicated in independent studies, the research identifies many previously associated loci. Abecasis and colleagues also test whether the plasma lipid associated loci were associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), and find that variants associated with increased LDL levels are also associated with increased risk of CAD in last year's Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium study.
While the genome-wide association studies were performed separately, Abecasis and colleagues partnered with Kathiresan and colleagues, to combine and analyze their initial genome-wide association studies. The results of the two combined genome-wide association studies and meta-analyses are reported in the paper from Abecasis and colleagues.
James Scott (Imperial College, London, UK) Author Paper 
Goncalo Abecasis (University of Michigan, USA) Author Paper 
Sekar Kathiresan (Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School, MA, USA) Author Paper 
Abstracts available online:
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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