The mutation is a deletion of 25 letters of genetic code from the heart protein gene MYBPC3.
Carriers of the mutation, which is virtually restricted to people from the Indian subcontinent, are seven times more likely to develop heart problems.
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: ‘This is a genetic finding of great importance.
‘Heart disease is one of the world's leading killers, but now that researchers have identified this common mutation, carried by one in 25 people of Indian origin, we have hope of reducing the burden that the disease causes.
‘This research should lead to better screening to identify those at risk and may ultimately allow the development of new treatments.’
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