Essential hypertension is a major cardiovascular risk factor and a large proportion of this risk is genetic. Identification of genomic regions consistently associated with hypertension has been difficult in association studies to date as this requires large sample sizes. We previously published a large genome-wide linkage scan in Americans of African (AA) and European (EA) descent in the GenNet Network of the Family Blood Pressure Program (FBPP). A highly significant linkage peak was identified on chr1q spanning a region of 100cM. In this study, we genotyped 1569 SNPs under this linkage peak in 2379 individuals to identify whether common genetic variants were associated with blood pressure (BP) at this locus. Our analysis, using two different family-based association tests, provides suggestive evidence (P≤2 × 10-5) for a collection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with BP. In EAs, using diastolic BP as a quantitative phenotype, three variants located in or near the GPA33, CD247, and F5 genes, emerge as our top hits; for systolic BP, variants in GPA33, CD247, and REN are our best findings. No variant in AAs came close to suggestive evidence after multiple-test corrections (P≥8 × 10-5). In summary, we show that systematic follow-up of a linkage signal can help discover candidate variants for essential hypertension that require a follow-up in yet larger samples. The failure to identify common variants is either because of low statistical power or the existence of rare coding variants in specific families or both, which require additional studies to clarify.
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