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Designer Rats Reveal Possible Heart Disease Genes

and designer rats using a DNA microarray technique. By studying the physical characteristics and gene expression of over 800 rats, the team identified candidate genes that may contribute to cardiovascular disease, including some genes not previously associated with the condition.

"This information offers an unprecedented amount of data for cardiovascular researchers to now mine," remarks Lee, senior author of the study.

Lead author Renae Malek, also a molecular biologist at TIGR, notes that the data point to promising genes for salt-sensitive hypertension, among other conditions. The online database resulting from the study, dubbed TREX, is available free of charge at: http://pga.tigr.org.

TIGR continues to study the panels of designer rat strains. Lee hopes to knock out specific candidate heart disease genes in future, directly testing their effects. "With all this information in hand, science is moving from a microscopic to global perspective of heart disease," Lee says. "This will generate research projects for years down the line."

The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) is a not-for-profit center dedicated to deciphering and analyzing genomes. Since 1992, TIGR, based in Rockville, Md., has been a genomics leader, conducting research critical to medicine, agriculture, energy, the environment and biodefence.


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