“Men can inherit heart disease from their father,” BBC News has reported. The broadcaster said that a specific version of the Y chromosome, a genetic structure passed from father to son, can raise a man’s heart disease risk by 50%.
This story is based on research that examined variation in the Y chromosome, a Y-shaped bundle of genetic material that makes a foetus develop into a male. Only men have a Y chromosome, and researchers thought that it may account for some of the variation in rates of heart disease between men and women. The researchers looked at the genetic variation in this chromosome in over 3,000 unrelated men, grouped them based on common variations, and then looked at associations between genetic type and risk of coronary artery disease. They found that in men with one particular variation, the odds of developing heart disease were 56% higher than in men from the other main genetic groups identified. This increase was independent of known risk factors for heart disease, including lifestyle and economic factors.