Scientists hail DNA breakthrough that can detect if people are likely to

In future, a similar approach could be used to identify at-risk patients at birth, say the researchers.Cardiologist Dr Ami Khera, a member of the team from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, said: “These individuals, who are at several times the normal risk for having a heart attack just because of the additive effects of many variations, are mostly flying under the radar.”If they came into my clinical practice, I wouldn’t be able to pick them out as high risk with our standard metrics.”A computer was programmed to scour more than six million locations in the complete human genetic code, or genome, of each patient – identifying many at risk with no typical symptoms.Lead scientist Dr Sekar Kathiresan, from the Broad Institute that brings together experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, said: “For heart attack, I foresee that each patient will have the opportunity to know his or her polygenic risk number in the near future, similar to the way they can know their cholesterol number right now.”The research is reported in the journal Nature Genetics. Over five million Britons are three times more likely than their peers to have a heart attack, a ground-breaking study has found – as scientists said their discovery could lead to nationwide screening to save their lives.American scientists identified genetic variants in the DNA of patients that increase the risk of five common disorders using information from the UK Biobank database. The unique collection of DNA samples and medical information is provided by more than 400,000 donors. The results enabled them to produce “risk scores” – showing how likely they were to develop one of the diseases.The conditions studied were coronary artery disease, the abnormal heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation, Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and breast cancer. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––Some eight per cent were found to be more than three times as likely to develop coronary artery disease as everyone else based on their genetic variants – despite not always showing obvious warning symptoms such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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