Solving the genetic puzzle of atrial fibrillation

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Molecular genetics of atrial fibrillation’, a Review article recently published in Genome Medicine, highlights recent groundbreaking work in atrial fibrillation genetics that has provided researchers with an increased understanding of the genetic origin of this disease.

Historically, many studies have successfully identified the  familial predisposition for atrial fibrillation, a common type of cardiac dysrhythmia and a known risk factor for stroke; however, up to 30% of patients are affected without any known familial association and the absence of any identifiable risk factors, such as hypertension or diabetes.

Many studies have identified mutations associated with the disease, but it was not until recent work using high-throughput sequencing technology, that the 4q25 locus was identified as a susceptibility factor for atrial fibrillation. The gene PITX2, which is known to have a role in embryonic cardiac development, has also been identified as the causal variant within the 4q25 susceptibility locus.

As Dr Samir B Damani and Dr Eric J Topol discuss in this Review, the advances in genomic research of atrial fibrillation represent more than just increased understanding of the disease; translation of these findings will lead to improved screening, prognosis, and treatment, as well as the future possibility of a personalized approach for treatment for atrial fibrillation.

Genome Medicine welcomes genomic and post-genomic research reporting findings that significantly advance our understanding and management of human health and disease. The journal also regularly publishes Review, Minireview and Commentary articles that appraise progress in any area of medicine studied from a genomic or post-genomic perspective.

We invite you to submit your next manuscript of outstanding research to Genome Medicine. You can also keep abreast of recent developments by registering online for our article updates.

Jasmine Farsarakis
Commissioning/Development Editor, Genome Medicine