Genes that cause deadly artery disease also increase fertility: Australian study

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-23 12:23:47|Editor: Yang Yi
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MELBOURNE, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Genes that cause coronary artery disease (CAD) can also contribute to greater fertility in women, an Australian study has found.

The study, released by the University of Melbourne, should serve as a cautionary tale for using gene-editing technology to eradicate "undesirable" DNA without fully understanding the repercussions, researchers said.

CAD, a condition where plaque builds up in arteries, is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, killing 8.9 million people every year and affecting 110 million.

Sean Byars, the lead researcher from the University of Melbourne, said that researchers found that CAD genes had been allowed to pass between generations for centuries because of the positive impact the DNA had on the ability to have children.

He said it is possible that CAD is a by-product of humans being able to reproduce well.

"CAD genes are also important for childbearing capacity which suggests an alternative function and provides a possible reason why these genes have been maintained in modern populations despite the health costs they have," Byars told Xinhua on Friday.

"This study helps to provide a fundamental understanding of why the disease exists rather than avenues for treatment."

Researchers analyzed 56 distinct genetic regions from 12 regions worldwide, mainly from Africa, Europe and East Asia, to measure whether there had been recent changes in DNA associated with CAD.

They said that the research indicates that other "undesirable" genes could also have positive impacts on the body.

Byars said more research was needed into certain genes before they could be eradicated.