The Symphony of Genes: How Genome Variants Dance with Each Other and the Environment, Shaping Cardiovascular Risk

Unveiling the Genetic Tango: How Variants in Our DNA Choreograph Cardiovascular Health

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Step into the captivating world of genomics, where scientists at deCODE genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen, have teamed up with collaborators from the Icelandic healthcare system and The Copenhagen University to pen a groundbreaking study in the journal Cell titled “Complex effects of sequence variants on lipid levels and coronary artery disease”.

This research unfolds as a quest to unearth the hidden secrets within our genome—those elusive variations that sway the delicate balance of quantitative traits. It delves into the intricate dance of genes with each other and their harmonious or discordant interactions with the environment.

In this symphony of genetic complexity, cholesterol emerges as a central character, particularly the notorious “bad” cholesterol—non-HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol—a villain in the plot of cardiovascular disease.

Yet, the story takes unexpected twists. The environment and our genetic makeup share the stage, influencing bad cholesterol levels and, in turn, our cardiovascular destiny. The interplay is intricate and multifaceted. For instance, alcohol, known to elevate bad cholesterol, is challenged by a sequence variant that dials down alcohol metabolism, offering protection against alcohol’s harmful effects on coronary artery disease. And then, there’s the tale of sequence variants linked to liver fat, rendering individuals more vulnerable to bad cholesterol spikes when indulging in oily fish.

But that’s not all. Genes, too, perform a complex dance. Take the APOE2 allele, a guardian against Alzheimer’s disease risk. Surprisingly, homozygotes of this allele exhibit high levels of bad cholesterol, yet the number of cholesterol-carrying particles (ApoB) remains low. This curious revelation suggests that it’s the amount of bad cholesterol, not the number of carriers, that dictates disease risk. Blood group secrets also come into play, influencing cholesterol levels and heart disease risk among specific blood groups.

These tales from the genetic crypt illuminate the intricate interplay of our genes and environment on health, showcasing the need for a diverse range of models to grasp the intricate genetics of human diseases.

Nestled in the heart of Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE stands as a global luminary in deciphering the human genome. Armed with unparalleled expertise and a wealth of population resources, deCODE has unveiled the genetic keys to numerous common diseases. Their mission is to harness this genetic wisdom for pioneering diagnostics, treatments, and preventative measures. deCODE is a proud member of the Amgen family (NASDAQ:AMGN), driven by an unwavering commitment to unraveling the mysteries of the human genome.

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