Though working of most hearts is the same, with functionality largely defined by the overall diet and exercise routine, some elements of the health of the heart are purely based on genes. A new study carried out recently has brought to light some of the most important genes vital to keep a heart’s functioning healthy. This finding can pave way for new cardiac research and perhaps, even improve personalised care.
67 genes found
The international research team has identified 67 genes which are involved in the functioning of the cardiac muscle. Dr Yalda Jamshidi, a researcher involved in the study said, although it was known to the researchers that some of these genes cause serious cardiac diseases, they did not realise that majority of them are playing a role in the way a heart functions.
“Our hope is that by looking at these particular genes, we will be able to link certain genes to the risk of heart problems,” explained Jamshidi. “This will allow clinicians to use a person’s genetic makeup to predict whether they have a high risk of heart failure, for example, and consider developing preventative measures.”
The team discovered the genes by examining ECGs, (a test that checks problems with the electrical activity of a heart), of 73,518 patients from across the globe. The ECGs were compared with their genetic makeup. Although the genes have been identified, the precise role that these genes play in functioning of the heart is still to be found.
To find the precise role of these genes, the researchers may purposely turn off these genes in fruit flies to observe the effects on the heart. The results have been compiled into a genetic library to be used by research teams around the world, which will hopefully bring the international science community a step closer to understand the role of genetics in heart function.