Scientists said that further study of the gene, called GATA2, and the genes it controls may reveal a regulatory network determining who inherits coronary artery disease. The research could lead to the development of genetic tests for the disease.
"We hope that one day it will be possible to use these gene variations to predict who is susceptible to cardiovascular disease. This finding is the first step before we can develop such a test for use in patients," study author Jessica J. Connelly, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Human Genetics at Duke University Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.
Connelly's team analysed DNA from 3 000 people with a familial history of coronary artery disease. The findings were published in the August issue of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) Genetics.
Coronary artery disease - which occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or clogged with plaque - is the most common form of heart disease in the Western world. People at high risk for coronary artery disease are instructed to avoid behaviors, such as smoking or consuming foods high in saturated fats, that promote heart disease. (HealthDayNews, August 2006)
Types of heart disease
Smoking and your heart