VU University Logo A recent study disclosed iron deficiency to be a risk factor for fatal blood clots. In a similar research, scientists from the VU University Amsterdam have stumbled upon 68 new genetic regions which apparently influenced the mass and population of blood platelets.

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes are the constituents of blood cells contributing to blood clotting happening in case of an injury or wound infection. The platelet count ought to be optimum to inhibit lethal instances of bleeding and blemishing. On the other hand, excessive proportions of blood platelets may lead to blood clots blocking arteries which could progress to thrombosis and even stroke and heart attack.

VU University professor Dorret Boomsma, commented, “These results provide more insight into the biological processes that underlie the composition of the blood. The more we know about these processes, the better and more focused we can prevent or treat blood-related diseases.”

This exhaustive trial involved almost 68,000 people living in Europe and Asia who were inspected by 124 researchers across 13 distinct nations. The scientists seemingly spotted the genetic variants that affected the formation of platelets.

They also came across genes supposedly responsible for blood disorders passed on by the family. The genes that were uncovered in the process appeared to show megakaryocyte-specific gene expression sequences and comprehensive network connectivity. Using Danio rerio and Drosophila melanogaster as prototypes, the team found 11 of the genes that could be accounted as controllers of blood cell formation.

Cumulatively, these gene functionalities may help in progressing towards preventing adverse events occurring due to megakaryopoiesis and platelet formation. This high magnitude meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) is published in the journal, Nature.