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UT Southwestern researchers find gene mutation that leads to 'broken hearts'

er and the Nearburg Family Center for Basic Research in Pediatric Oncology.

The findings further our understanding of the identity of genes that can cause heart defects and also serve as a step in developing genetic screening for such defects, Dr. Olson said.

"It was very interesting because so little is known about how the heart forms and we did not anticipate that the same enzymes involved in cholesterol and lipid synthesis might play an important role in the development of an organ," he said.

One of the goals of this research is to define the genetic blueprint for how the heart forms. In order to do that, the UT Southwestern scientists engineered fruit flies whose hearts glow by expressing a gene coding for green fluorescent protein specifically in the heart. "This fly with a glowing heart enables us to visualize the details of heart development with high resolution in living animals and to detect cardiac defects that have never been described before", said Dr. Zhe Han, research instructor and co-first / co-senior author of this study.


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Source:UT Southwestern Medical Center


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