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Study discovers gene mutation linked to high blood pressure

11th February 2011

Researchers in the US have uncovered new insight into the role played by genetic mutations in causing high blood pressure among certain patient groups.

Scientists from Yale University made the discovery following analysis of patients suffering from severe hypertension as a result of tumours of the adrenal gland that produce the hormone aldosterone.

It was found that a pair of mutations of a single gene were responsible for causing aldosterone release and tumour formation in many of these cases, as well as another rare familial form of severe hypertension.

According to the researchers, this illustrates the value of whole exome sequencing, as opposed to selective analysis of gene targets and could pave the way for new genetic screening tests.

Richard Lifton, chair of the department of genetics at Yale and senior author of the paper, said: "This gene was not on anybody's list to sequence in an investigation of this disease. We really hit the jackpot."

According to NHS information, hypertension affects around one three adults in England and can cause damage to the heart, kidneys and brain if left untreated.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-800400974-ADNFCR

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