Sons can inherit heart disease from dad

Fathers can pass on heart disease to their son.

A Lancet study published on Thursday says men develop coronary artery disease (CAD) 10 years before women. And one of the main reasons for this could be a slight twitch in their Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is present exclusively in men, and is inherited along the paternal lineage (from fathers to sons). Apart from determining maleness and fertility, the other roles of the Y chromosome in health and disease were not clear for many years. The study finds that men with a particular variant in their Y chromosome are at a 50% increased risk of CAD compared with men without it.

This increased risk is irrespective of traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. The study was led by Dr Maciej Tomaszewski from University of Leicester, the UK, and Dr Fadi Charchar from University of Ballarat, Australia. They concluded, "Our study is the first to evaluate associations between main Y chromosome lineages and CAD as well as its underlying risk factors. It has revealed that the Y chromosome might have a magnified effect on men beyond sex determination despite the small number of genes it harbours in the human genome."

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