Several of those genes "are potentially attractive drug targets" to lower heart disease risk, write the University of Michigan's Cristen Willer, PhD, and colleagues.
The scientists spotted the cholesterol and triglyceride genes by analyzing DNA from more than 8,800 people and then double-checking their findings by testing the DNA of more than 11,000 other people.
The findings were published online in Nature Genetics, along with two independent studies with similar results.
"Nearly all of the gene regions that we found to be involved in higher LDL levels were also involved in coronary artery disease risk," Willer states in a news release. "This is a remarkable result and suggests that new drug therapies that target the genes in these regions will also help prevent coronary artery disease and allow people to live longer and healthier lives."
One day, it may be possible to tailor cholesterol and triglyceride treatments to a patient's gene profile, the researchers note.