Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Nancy Rice (Director), Cheryl Davis, Ajay Srivastava

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), is an ever-growing epidemic in the developing world. Understanding the genetics behind essential hypertension (EH), or hypertension with no known cause, is especially important. In this study, three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to be linked to an increase in susceptibility to EH were quantified from a cohort of Kenyans living in the Kasigau region. The SNPs are located in three genes that are part of the renin angiotensin system, the primary regulatory pathway in humans controlling BP. They include: AGT (rs699), AGTR1 (rs5186), and HSD11β2 (rs5479). Overall, by using a fluorescent-based RT-PCR technique, the genotype distribution of AGT (rs699) was 0.63 C/C, 0.34 C/T, and 0.03 T/T. When evaluated as normotensive, prehypertensive, Stage I, or Stage II categories the allele frequencies for f(C)= 0.77,0.85,0.81, 0.77, respectively, and demonstrated Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium (HWE) as assessed by Χ2, p < 0.05. The genotype distribution of AGTR1 (rs5186) was 0.96 A/A, 0.03 A/C, and 0.00 C/C and the genotype distribution of HSD11β2 (rs5479) was 0.46 A/A, 0.46 A/C, and 0.08 C/C. The majority of genotype frequencies for each SNP were in HWE, with the exception of the AGT (rs699) SNP found in the sublocation of Bughuta suggesting other evolutionary selective pressures may be at work in this subpopulation. The high prevalence of the susceptible C allele for AGT (rs699) likely implies it is a critical factor in the high prevalence of EH observed in this population.


Biology | Cardiology | Genetics | Medical Education | Physiology