Genetic variants that contribute to the different lipid levels and other metabolic traits that increase the risk of heart disease are reported in three papers published online in Nature Genetics. The findings add to currently known variants and help to create genetic risk profiles that are better predictors of elevated lipid levels than traditional factors, such as age, sex, and weight.
Most previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of levels of the lipids cholesterol and triglycerides have used data from individuals who were recruited because they had a particular disease, a method that can introduce bias. Leena Peltonen and colleagues studied individuals who were randomly sampled from more than 16 different European population groups. They identified 22 loci contributing to variation in lipid levels, 6 of which are new.
In a second study, Nelson Freimer and colleagues carried out a GWAS for 9 traits, including blood lipid levels, glucose, insulin, body mass, and blood pressure in a sample that included almost all individuals born in 1966 in the two northernmost Finnish provinces. This is the first GWAS of a 'birth cohort', which has the benefit of avoiding potential age-related and environmental biases. The authors identified 23 loci affecting the traits under study, 9 of which are new.
Finally, Sekar Kathiresan and colleagues carried out their own GWAS of cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and identified 30 contributing loci, 11 of which are new.
Leena Peltonen (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK)
Nelson Freimer (University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Sekar Kathiresan (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstracts available online:
Paper 1 Abstract.
Paper 2 Abstract.
Paper 3 Abstract.
(C) Nature Genetics.
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