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The genetic architecture of common traits, including the number, frequency, and effect sizes of inherited variants that contribute to individual risk, has been long debated. Genome-wide association studies have identified scores of common variants associated with type 2 diabetes, but in aggregate, these explain only a fraction of the heritability of this disease.
USC researchers have identified a gene variant that decreases the risk of heart disease — but only among women. Men who carry the variant receive no protective effect. Hooman Allayee, senior author of the study and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said scientists have long known that heart disease affects men and women differently, but what causes the difference has not been entirely clear. This new finding may shed light on that mystery.