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Research – Genes responsible for some amount of High Blood Pressure cases ?

In recent years, there has been an increasing trend towards looking for gene based causes of a number of diseases and afflictions. With progress being made towards an increased trend of mapping the entire genome structure of the human body, and more research towards linkage of some genes (or mutations / defects in the genes) with afflictions and diseases, there are more links being found between genes and diseases. Consider the case of High Blood Pressure, which is a disease that causes harm to the cardio-vascular system of the body with long term damage, and which is also known as a modern disease, caused due to a more sedate lifestyle.
Research (news article) is isolating a genetic cause in around 5 – 10% of cases where genetic mutations can cause hypertension, and if this research goes on, it can eventually lead to genetic screening for this form of hypertension.

Scientists at Yale University have found two new genetic mutations that can cause hypertension in up to a third of patients suffering from a common cause of severe high blood pressure.
Five to ten percent of patients with severe hypertension have tumours of the adrenal gland that produce a hormone called aldosterone. Removing these tumours can cure this form of hypertension.
Sifting for clues by sequencing all of the genes from these tumours, and comparing their sequences to the patients” normal DNA, the researchers found that either one of two mutations of a single gene were found in 8 of 22 tumours studied.
The investigators discovered that these mutations cause both aldosterone release and tumour formation by allowing the encoded protein, a potassium channel, to conduct sodium rather than only allowing potassium to pass through the channel.

As additional attention is paid to decoding the human genome, it becomes more and more clear that a large number of diseases will be linked to genes (mutations / defects) in some way, which in turn can help to screen for these diseases before the disease becomes apparent.

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