A US study has found seven new genes that influence blood cholesterol level – a major factor in heart disease.
The investigation, which analysed the genomes of 20,000 people, also confirmed the affect of 11 other genes that had previously been thought to influence cholesterol.
The researchers outlined their plans to identify or confirm the genetic variants that influence lipid levels and whether those variants were linked to the decreased or increased risk of heart disease in the journal Nature Genetics.
"It was surprising that while genetic variants that increase your bad cholesterol are also associated with increased risk of heart disease, we did not find that variants influencing your good cholesterol were associated with decreased risk of coronary artery disease," said Goncalo Abecasis, the study's co-author.
He added that the study may lead to a re-examination of the roles of good and bad cholesterol in susceptibility to heart disease.
According to Bupa, seven out of ten people over 45 years old suffer from high cholesterol.
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