Genetic variations that increase the risk of developing a disease called hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) - which can in turn increase risk for heart disease and stroke, have been identified by scientists.
HTG is also associated with obesity, diabetes and pancreatitis.
Understanding the genes that make patients susceptible to HTG could provide clues to newer, better treatments.
Dr. Robert Hegele of the Robarts Research Institute, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) has shown that it is a combination of both common and rare variants or 'misprints' in several genes that add up and put a patient at risk of developing HTG.
"It's also instructive that one single gene is not solely responsible for high triglyceride levels but rather a mosaic of both common and rare variations in several genes," Nature quoted Hegele as saying.
"It means that to get a full picture of a patient's genetic risk, you need to consider both common and rare variants in many genes simultaneously, and to use methods that will detect both types of variation," added Hegele.
The study is published online in Nature Genetics.