Thursday April 26, 2018

Scientists identify 36 new genes implicated in cardiac disease

They found the transcription factor gene was directly connected to a whole network of proteins known to play a role in cardiac hypertrophy

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Scientists discovered 36 new genes related to cardiac diseases. IANS
Scientists discovered 36 new genes related to cardiac diseases. IANS
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  • Scientists discovered 36 new genes
  • These are the genes implicated in cardiac diseases
  • These genes play a casual but important role in the diseases of heart

Researchers have identified 36 new genes that plays a causal role in cardiac hypertrophy — abnormal thickening of the heart muscle — which can lead to heart failure.

These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay
These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay

“This is an exciting direction for personalised medicine, and also for identifying genes and therapeutic targets for complex diseases that involve many genes,” said co-author of the study Alain Karma, professor at the Northeastern University. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four deaths in the US each year are due to heart disease.

Also Read: Heart Surgery In Infants May Cause Deafness

“The framework described in the paper can also be used to predict whether individuals suffering from a particular disease will respond to a given drug treatment,” said lead author Marc Santolini, a postdoctoral research associate at Centre for Complex Network Research.

For the study, published in the journal npj Systems Biology, the researchers took an entirely different approach — using the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel, a collection of 100 genetically different strains of mice that can be used to analyse the genetic and environmental factors underlying complex traits.

The Science of Genetics behind Gotra system
The study was done on many kinds of genes and chemicals, Wikimedia Commons

Within each strain, the mice are inbred, making them all identical twins on a genetic level. Researchers took two mice from the same strain and gave one of them a stressor drug that induces heart failure. They then compared the stressed mouse’s gene expression with its non-stressed twin.

Since the mice have the same genome, they were able to pinpoint individual genes that changed expression as a direct result of the heart stressor.

Also Read: Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Often Misinterpreted

Among the identified 36 such genes, many of these genes were previously unknown to be implicated in heart failure, the researcher said. They mentioned that one of them is known as a transcription factor, meaning it controls the expression of many other genes.

They confirmed the gene’s role by using molecular biology techniques to silence it and observe the resulting changes of expression.

blood type
It is important to take care of one’s heart to avoid major health issues. Pixabay

They found the transcription factor gene was directly connected to a whole network of proteins known to play a role in cardiac hypertrophy. IANS

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STUDY: Lakes on Mars dried up 3.5bn years ago

A study reveals that lakes on Mars dried up 3.5bn years ago.

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An image of Mars.
Mars. Pixabay

The discovery of cracks on the surface of Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover in early 2017 are evidence of lakes that likely dried up 3.5 billion years ago, confirmed a study, revealing details about the red planet’s ancient climate.

In early 2017 scientists announced the discovery of possible desiccation cracks in Gale Crater, which was filled by lakes 3.5 billion years ago.

“We are now confident that these are mudcracks,” said lead author Nathaniel Stein, a geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, US.

Since desiccation mudcracks form only where wet sediment is exposed to air, their position closer to the centre of the lake bed rather than the edge also suggests that lake levels rose and fell dramatically over time.

“The mudcracks show that the lakes in Gale Crater had gone through the same type of cycles that we see on Earth,” Stein added.

Representational image for planet Mars.
Representational image. Pixabay

Although scientists have known almost since the moment Curiosity landed in 2012 that Gale Crater once contained lakes, “the mudcracks are exciting because they add context to our understanding of this ancient lacustrine system”, Stein explained, in the paper published in the journal Geology.

“We are capturing a moment in time. This research is just a chapter in a story that Curiosity has been building since the beginning of its mission,” he said.

Also Read: SpaceX to build Mars rockets in Los Angeles

For the study, the team focused on a coffee table-sized slab of rock nicknamed “Old Soaker”.

Old Soaker is crisscrossed with polygons identical in appearance to desiccation features on Earth.

They found that the polygons — confined to a single layer of rock and with sediment filling the cracks between them — formed from exposure to air, rather than other mechanisms such as thermal or hydraulic fracturing, the researchers said.  IANS