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DeCODE discovers heart attack gene

Reykjavík-based biopharmaceutical company deCODE has identified a common genetic variant associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

The variant was found through genome-wide analysis in Iceland, which was then repeated in the US. Participants who carried two copies of the variant were found to have a 60 percent increased chance of having a heart attack, compared to those without the variant.

DeCODE plans to create a DNA-based test for gauging inherited risk of heart attack by combining the new information, details of which were published in the online version of Science, with past discoveries of variants linked to heart attack. It is hoped that such a test will enable doctors to adopt more informed preventative regimes.

Research into the identification and development of drugs to counteract the effects of the variants which lead to heart attack is also planned.

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