Having kids really can break your heart

Genes that aid in reproductive success also make people more prone to heart attacks, say scientists — a finding that will surprise few parents. 

Authors from several schools, including Yale, say their genomic analysis suggests natural selection has relatively recently preserved genes that contribute to risk of coronary artery disease because they also contribute to better chances of having kids.

While this evolutionary trade-off seems to get Junior off the hook for causing his parents’ heart attacks, it also shows “babies can break your heart,’’ said contributing author Stephen Stearns of Yale.

The research was published in the June 22 issue of PLOS Genetics.

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Bill Hathaway: william.hathaway@yale.edu, 203-432-1322