The UK centre for the study of the genetics of multifactorial diseases is currently engaged in research into the genetics behind why some babies are born with heart defects, with the ultimate aim of preventing them altogether.
In most cases, congenital heart disease develops because something has gone wrong during the crucial stage in foetal heart development – between six and twelve weeks after conception and some heart conditions in babies are due to faulty genes or chromosomal abnormalities. Professor Bhattacharya’s team are identifying which genes are critical for the heart to develop normally.
The Oxford team is using genetic techniques and state-of the art imaging technology to study how alterations in these genes affect the structure of the heart and lead to these conditions, they are also developing new genetic technology that may enable us to screen for congenital heart disease.
To find out more about this programme, visit the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics homepage: