[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Essential hypertension, defined as elevated levels of blood pressure (BP) without any obvious cause, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and renal disease. BP levels and susceptibility to development of essential hypertension are partially determined by genetic factors that are poorly understood. Similar to other efforts to understand complex, non-Mendelian phenotypes, genetic dissection of hypertension-related traits employs genomewide linkage analyses of families and association studies of patient cohorts, to uncover rare and common disease alleles, respectively. Family-based mapping studies of elevated BP cover the large intermediate ground for identification of genes with common variants of significant effect. Our genomewide linkage and candidate-gene-based association studies demonstrate that a replicated linkage peak for BP regulation on human chromosome 1q, homologous to mouse and rat quantitative trait loci for BP, contains at least three genes associated with BP levels in multiple samples: ATP1B1, RGS5, and SELE. Individual variants in these three genes account for 2-5-mm Hg differences in mean systolic BP levels, and the cumulative effect reaches 8-10 mm Hg. Because the associated alleles in these genes are relatively common (frequency >5%), these three genes are important contributors to elevated BP in the population at large.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 02/2007; 80(2):253-64. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The application of genome-wide linkage scans to uncover susceptibility loci for complex diseases offers great promise for the risk assessment, treatment, and understanding of these diseases. However, for most published studies, linkage signals are typically modest and vary considerably from one study to another. The multicenter Family Blood Pressure Program has analyzed genome-wide linkage scans of over 12 000 individuals. Based on this experience, we developed a protocol for large linkage studies that reduces two sources of data error: pedigree structure and marker genotyping errors. We then used the linkage signals, before and after data cleaning, to illustrate the impact of missing and erroneous data. A comprehensive error-checking protocol is an important part of complex disease linkage studies and enhances gene mapping. The lack of significant and reproducible linkage findings across studies is, in part, due to data quality.
European Journal of HumanGenetics 05/2006; 14(4):469-77. · 4.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare inherited disorder characterized by abnormal skin manifestations. Morbidity and mortality from this disease is usually due to bone marrow failure, but idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and an increased cancer predisposition also occur. Families with autosomal dominant dyskeratosis congenita display anticipation and have mutations in the telomerase RNA gene. We identified a three-generation pedigree with autosomal dominant dyskeratosis congenita, anticipation, and telomere shortening. We show that a null mutation in motif D of the reverse transcriptase domain of the protein component of telomerase, hTERT, is associated with this phenotype. This mutation leads to haploinsufficiency of telomerase, and telomere shortening occurs despite the presence of telomerase. This finding emphasizes the importance of telomere maintenance and telomerase dosage for maintaining tissue proliferative capacity and has relevance for understanding mechanisms of age-related changes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2005; 102(44):15960-4. · 9.74 Impact Factor