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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

An international research team has identified a number of unsuspected genetic variants associated with systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and hypertension, suggesting potential avenues of investigation for the prevention or treatment of high blood pressure. The research, which was published in Nature Genetics on May 10, was funded in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the NIH and by several other NIH institutes and centers.

During this week's podcast Dr. Daniel Levy, first author of the published paper, names the specific genes identified by the scientific team and discusses why these newly discovered genetic variants were considered surprising in relation to blood pressure regulation. Dr. Levy also reviews the reasons why previous attempts to identify genes associated with blood pressure have met with limited success and talks about the methodology his team employed to find the genetic variants discussed in the journal article. He lists the main reasons for the team's choice of the genome-wide association technique versus other approaches. In addition, Dr. Levy explains the significance of this study and how the team's findings might be used to develop new ways to treat hypertension.
Daniel Levy, MD, joined the Framingham Heart Study in 1984 after completing his cardiology fellowship at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Levy is a Medical Officer of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and has a faculty appointment at Boston University School of Medicine, where he is Professor of Medicine. Dr. Levy has published over 200 articles in leading medical journals, and edited a book on the Framingham Heart Study titled 50 Years of Discovery. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Hypertension and the American Journal of Medicine. He became the Framingham Heart Study's fourth director in 1994. Dr. Levy is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and an active member of the American Heart Association's Council on Hypertension and the American Society of Hypertension. In addition to his research and administrative responsibilities, Dr. Levy has become actively involved as a policy maker. He served with the National High Blood Pressure Education Program and the National Cholesterol Education Program in the formulation of national hypertension and cholesterol guidelines. Dr. Levy has been the recipient of many awards including the National Institutes of Health Director's Award given for his research achievements at the Framingham Heart Study. His main areas of research interest include the epidemiology and genetics of hypertension, heart disease and heart failure.

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