Gene of the Month - Titin
And finally it's time for our gene of the month, and this time it's Titin. One of the biggest genes in the genome, it was first discovered in the late 1970s when the Titin protein was found in chicken breast muscle cells. Named after its enormous size - think of the Titanic - Titin encodes a large structural protein that's important for making muscles work properly. One of its key roles is in the heart, and around one in four people with a serious heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy are known to have faults in their Titin gene. But many more people in the general population also carry faults in Titin, but don't seem to have heart problems. Researchers are now looking in more detail to find out exactly which faults in Titin are related to heart disease. Given that dilated cardiomyopathy can cause serious illness and death, knowing more about the 'bad' versions of Titin should help to identify families and individuals at risk, so they can be closely monitored for any signs of ticker trouble.