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Nat Med. 2004 May;10(5):467-74.

A decade of discoveries in cardiac biology.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 6000 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, Texas 75390-9148, USA.


The heart is the first organ to form in the embryo, and all subsequent events in the life of the organism depend on its function. Inherited mutations in cardiac regulatory genes give rise to congenital heart disease, the most common form of human birth defects, and abnormalities of the adult heart represent the most prevalent cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world. The past decade has marked a transition from physiological and functional studies of the heart toward a deeper understanding of cardiac function (and dysfunction) at genetic and molecular levels. These discoveries have provided new therapeutic approaches for prevention and palliation of cardiac disease and have raised new questions, challenges and opportunities for the future.

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