Your father’s heart disease could now be yours according to a recent study. Coronary artery disease or CAD, which kills tens of thousands worldwide every year, is likely to pass from father to son.
A new study by the University of Leicester’s cardiovascular sciences and genetics departments, which took four years to complete, suggests that the Y-chromosome, a part of DNA present only in men, plays a role in the inheritance of CAD.
CAD refers to narrowing of arteries delivering blood to the heart, meaning that not enough oxygen can reach it. This can lead to angina symptoms, such as constriction of the chest, and heart attacks.
The British Heart Foundation found that CAD, also known as coronary heart disease, caused 88,236 deaths in 2008 in the UK alone, the journal The Lancet reported.
The Leicester led team analysed DNA from over 3,000 men from British Heart Foundation Family Heart Study (BHF-FHS) and the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS).
They found that 90 percent of British Y-chromosomes belong to one of two major groups — named haplogroup I and haplogroup R1b1b2, said a university statement.
The risk of coronary artery disease among men who carry a Y-chromosome from haplogroup I is 50 percent higher than other men, and the risk is independent of traditional risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking.
Principal investigator Maciej Tomaszewski, senior clinical lecturer at Leicester’s cardiovascular sciences department, said: “We are very excited about these findings as they put the Y-chromosome on the map of genetic susceptibility to coronary artery disease.”