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New genetic variants associated with lipid levels, risk for coronary artery disease
Date:1/13/2008

vestigators developed and employed new statistical methods that allowed them to combine data across different gene chips and thus examine much larger numbers of participants.

With the statistical power gained by new programs that facilitated pooling of the large SardiNIA, FUSION and Diabetes Genetic Initiative (DGI) datasets, researchers were able to identify variations in 18 genes that influence HDL, LDL and/or triglyceride levels. This list of lipid-associated genes is substantially longer than what was generated by analyses of individual datasets, which had only pointed to one to three genes each. Of the seven newly implicated genes, two were associated with HDL levels, one with LDL levels, three with triglyceride levels and one with both triglycerides and LDL levels. A summary of the data is available online at http://www.sph.umich.edu/csg/abecasis/public/lipids.

These results are yet another example of how genome-wide association studies are opening exciting new avenues for biomedical research, says NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who is a coauthor of the study and an investigator in NHGRIs Genome Technology Branch. While some of the genetic variants we identified are known to play a well-established role in lipid metabolism, others have no obvious connection. Further studies to identify the precise genes and biological pathways involved could shed new light on lipid metabolism.

Scientists estimate that the genetic contribution to lipid levels is about 30 to 40 percent; the genetic variants uncovered in the new study are responsible for about 5 to 8 percent of that contribution, the scientists note, which means there is more work to be done. In this study we carried out a comprehensive search for common variants of large effect. The genetic factors still to be discovered might turn out to be common variants with smaller effects or rare variants with
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Contact: Megan Homer
nianews3@mail.nih.gov
301-496-1752
NIH/National Institute on Aging
Source:Eurekalert

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