A gene candidate previously linked with high blood pressurehas been ruled out by research reported in a new journal,Nature Genetics.

In October, researchers at Genmark Inc. and colleaguesreported in Nature that they had found that a locus onchromosome 10 in rats influences blood pressure. Comparingrat and human chromosomal maps, the researchers identifiedthe gene for angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) as acandidate for the hypertension-linked gene.

However, researchers at the University of Utah and at HarvardUniversity reported in the April edition of the new publication,also published by Nature, that "we have found no evidence tosupport linkage between the ACE locus and hypertension." Thenew research places the ACE gene on human chromosome 17.

ACE regulates proteins known to play a role in blood pressure,and drugs that block ACE are widely prescribed for thecondition, which affects 20 percent to 30 percent of thepopulation and puts these people at risk for heart attack andstroke. -- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.

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