Messing with DNA leads to a number of disorders

Researchers have demonstrated that any change in a person's DNA can contribute to a range of life- shortening risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other metabolic disorders.

The mutation affects the genes of the mitochondria which is the energy-producing power plants of the cell that are passed from mother to offspring. The researchers are hopeful their discovery could help unravel the complex genetic and environmental factors that cause a range of metabolic disorders.

The researchers, led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Richard P. Lifton, who is at Yale University School of Medicine, published their findings October 22, 2004, in Science Express, an online component of the journal Science. Gerald I. Shulman, another HHMI investigator at the Yale School of Medicine, was also an author on the paper, informs New Kerala.

According to Health Talk, the researchers focused on the mutation in mitochondria, sometimes described as "cellular power plants" because their primary purpose is to manufacture adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used as a source of energy.

"Looking further, this finding raises the possibility that all features of the metabolic syndrome may be attributable to altered mitochondrial function," said lead study author Professor Richard T. Lifton, of Yale.

A team from Yale University School of Medicine found the defect was linked to conditions such as high blood pressure and &to=' target=_blank>high cholesterol. They studied 142 women in the family and found there was a high frequency of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Around half had all three conditions.

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