A South African family with a rare form of hereditary heart disease has helped scientists identify a new gene responsible for sudden-death syndrome, a condition that causes otherwise healthy young people and athletes to go into cardiac arrest.The discovery of the role of Cadherin-2 (CDH2) in an incurable disorder, arrythmogenic right-ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARCV), solves a 20-year mystery and offers hope of new tests for people at risk.CDH2 joins a group of eight other genes already linked to ARCV, a condition that increases the risk of an abnormal heart beat and sudden death."This is probably the biggest breakthrough in South African cardiology since Chris Barnard’s first heart transplant", said Prof Bongani Mayosi, dean of the faculty of health sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and lead author of a paper describing the find published on Thursday in peer-review journal Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics. "This discovery … will permit the diagnosis and possible targ...

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