The researchers ruled out that the risk was due to other known risk factors for erectile dysfunction, such as body mass index, or differences in how men describe their erectile dysfunction.
They also controlled for other common factors in ED like BMI, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and smoking, and found that it remained relevant no matter what additional health risks people had.
Geneticist Eric Jorgenson, who is the lead author of the study, said this is "an exciting discovery" which could lead the way in exploring new therapies that target genetics. According to the new study, the genetic variant Jorgenson and his colleagues identified alone accounts for 2 per cent of the risk.
Researchers believe a variation near the SIM1 gene nay explain why some men have the condition. The scientists from medical care and health insurance company Kaiser Permanente selected the medical records of men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction. Now, a study published this week in PNAS found another reason some men suffer from the condition: a specific DNA variation.
The new study found that variations in a genetic locus near the SIM1 gene are significantly associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) have trouble getting or maintaining an erection to have satisfactory sexual intercourse, according to the U.S. Department of Health. The association was replicated in the U.K. Biobank sample, providing strong confirmation of the findings.
Researchers have identified a genetic variant that is partially responsible for erectile dysfunction, a development that could help improve treatment, according to a study published Monday in a USA journal.
Erectile dysfunction has been hard to study in part because of the differences in how patients report their symptoms.
"The next step is to find out how this location in the genome affects the risk of erectile dysfunction", he said.
The study then identified a biological role for this location in erectile dysfunction susceptibility.
The portion of DNA responsible for the possible development of erectile dysfunction, was discovered near the SIM1 gene, which is involved in brain development.
Jorgenson likened the gene a light bulb, the promoter a light switch and an enhancer a fuse box. Mutations in that nearby locus change how the SIM1 gene works in our bodies, they say, potentially leading to ED.