Lp(a) is an LDL-like lipoprotein that is a major inherited risk factor for atherosclerosis. It is distinguished from Lp(a) by the addition of apolipoprotein(a). The gene structure of apolipoprotein(a) is homologous to plasminogen, and competition with plasminogen activity may account for some of the pathophysiology associated with Lp(a). Six highly related genes have now been identified, and at least four are found in close proximity in overlapping genomic clones. Studies have begun on the regulation of apolipoprotein (a) gene expression, and the human apolipoprotein(a) gene has been inserted into transgenic mice, where it leads to the development of arterial lesions.