Mayo Clinic researchers have found one of the genes that cause a form of heart arhythmia.
Doctors studied a family with an inherited form of atrial fibrillation by scanning the entire human genome. They discovered one genetic mutation that alters the electrical properties of the heart.
Dr. Tim Olson led the study. He said most of the time this disease is prompted by high blood pressure or a leaky heart valve, but he believes there is always a genetic component.
"There's not a single gene that accounts for this arhythmia, there are many different genes. So that poses a challenge. But at the same time I think that challenge can be overcome by identifying those genes which are important and developing technology that will allow us to screen for defects," Olson said.
Olson said that technology is years away. Two million Americans are affected by the disease.