Lead researcher Dr Eric Jorgenson, from United States health service providers Kaiser Permanente, said: "Identifying this SIM1 locus as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction is a big deal because it provides the long sought-after proof that there is a genetic component to the disease".
Scientists report they have uncovered the first evidence that erectile dysfunction may have genetic underpinnings. This risk was independent of known erectile dysfunction risk factors.
Men who have a copy of this variant have a 26 percent increased risk of facing erectile dysfunction compared to the average population, said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Identifying the first genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction is an exciting discovery because it opens the door for investigations into new, genetic-based therapies".
The results were based on a database of 36,649 patients of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a health care provider.
Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease all have genetic components and are also linked to erectile dysfunction.
In a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich when it had not yet been peer reviewed, the researchers said eating a Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of a man developing ED. Guys completed sexual health surveys, and the team looked at whether participants were diagnosed with erectile dysfunction or received treatment for the condition.
Their study picked out a single area, or locus, in our DNA that interacts with a gene known as SIM1, and which was correlated with erectile dysfunction in men in the study. The genetic variation is located near the SIM1 gene, which helps regulate body weight and erections.
As per Jorgenson, 50 percent of men with erectile dysfunction do not respond to the dysfunction treatments now available.
Jorgenson likened the gene a light bulb, the promoter a light switch and an enhancer a fuse box.
The portion of DNA responsible for the possible development of erectile dysfunction, was discovered near the SIM1 gene, which is involved in brain development. Mutations in that nearby locus change how the SIM1 gene works in our bodies, they say, potentially leading to ED.
"Hopefully, this will translate into better treatments and, importantly, prevention approaches for the men and their partners who often suffer silently with this condition", he added.
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We believe this has been a direct attack on our mutual trust, and has cast a shadow on China-US relations. Pompeo hit back, saying the United States has "great concerns about the actions that China has taken".
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