The genetic mechanisms that control variation in blood pressure level are largely unknown. One of the first steps in understanding those mechanisms is the localization of the genes that have a significant effect on blood pressure. We performed genome scans of systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) on a population-based sample of families in the San Antonio Family Heart Study. A likelihood-based Mendelian model incorporating genotype-specific effects of sex, age, age(2), BMI, and blood pressure (SBP or DBP, as appropriate) as covariates was used to perform two-point lodscore (Z) linkage on 399 polymorphic markers. Results showed that the genotype-specific covariate effects were highly significant for both SBP and DBP. Linkage results showed that a quantitative trait locus (QTL) influencing DBP was significantly linked to D2S1790 (Z = 3.92, theta = 0.00) and showed suggestive linkage to D8S373 (Z = 1.92, theta = 0.00). A QTL influencing SBP showed suggestive linkage to D21S1440 (Z = 2.82, theta = 0.00) and D18S844 (Z = 2.09, theta = 0.11). Without the genotype-specific effects in the model, the linkage to D2S1790 was not even suggestive (Z = 1.33, theta = 0.09); thus genotype-specific modeling was crucial in detecting this linkage. A comparison with linkage studies based in other populations showed that the significant linkage to D2S1790 has been replicated at the same marker in the Quebec Family Study. The replicated significant linkage at D2S1790 may begin to establish the locations of the genes that significantly affect blood pressure across several human ethnic groups.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.