Super gene protects healthy Greeks from ill-effects of fatty food

29 May 2017
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GREEKS live long and healthy lives despite eating lots of animal fats thanks to a unique gene that protects them against heart disease, reveals a new study.
People living in the isolated mountain villages of northern Crete should have poor heart health because of their diet. But researchers found the genetic secrets that protect them from cardiovascular disease.
The disease is associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries and an increased risk of blood clots, according to heraldscotland.
It can also be associated with damage to arteries in organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys and eyes and is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK.
High blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, a lack of exercise, being overweight and bad diets are known to increase risk.
The residents of Anogia and surrounding Mylopotamos villages are known to be strong and live long and healthy lives, despite their diet.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, made a genetic portrait of the population by sequencing the entire genome of 250 individuals.
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute found that a genetic variant known to protect the heart is 40 times more common in this small Greek population than in other European populations. It was a new genetic variant that was not previously known to have cardioprotective qualities.

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