Researchers at Newcastle University have discovered a gene associated with a form of congenital heart disease in newborn babies.
Professor Bernard Keavney who led the research team, organised the analysis of more than 2,000 children born with a hole in their heart.
Mr Keavney said that further research would be necessary, but hoped that this discovery would aid future treatments. He was quoted as saying "the gene was an important step forward". He went on to say "We found that a common genetic variation near a gene called a Msx1, was strongly associated with the risk of a particular type of congenital heart disease called atrial septal defect or hole in the heart".
The research was part funded by the British Heart Foundation, and will be published in the Nature Genetics Journal.
Senior research advisor at the British Heart Foundation, Dr Shannon Amoils, said "Most babies born with a heart defect have a much brighter future now than they would have had in the 1960's when the British Heart Foundation was founded. But we still need to fund much more research like this to better understand the fundamental causes congenital heart defects".
Share your thoughts with the Direct2Mum Community below, or start up a discussion.