Insights into the genetics of heart disease

THESE are exciting times in molecular cardiology research, with a number of major technological breakthroughs that promise to revolutionise our studies of the genetics of human disease. 

Now, more than ever, we’re recognising that inherited gene changes can predispose patients to a variety of heart disorders, ranging from congenital heart disease to adult-onset cardio­myopathies and arrhythmias.

Over the past decade, we have made substantial progress in identifying some of these genetic changes in families with heart disease. 

While important new insights into the causes of disease have been found in many cases, we have not been able to find answers in most families, which has been frustrating, both for affected families involved and for us as researchers. 

Diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation have been a huge problem, as we already know many genes can cause these heart diseases;