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Associated Press

Coronary heart disease has likely plagued and killed humans for thousands of years and is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide in the 21st century. Big question: why hasn't evolution weeded out the genes that cause this common, deadly condition in the human heart system?

It seems we might need those genes for something else that the human species considers an even more urgent, primal need – raising lots of children. Researchers found that the same genetic variations that contribute to plaque buildup in arteries, which cause coronary heart disease, also contribute to greater male and female reproductive success.

What it means: Basically, the human species has made an evolutionary trade off over time – better chances for reproduction even though those same genetic changes also lead to potentially fatal disease complications later in life. Parents pass on the genetic variations that help with reproduction to their children before suffering from advanced complications like coronary heart disease.

How they did it: Researchers compared genetic information from two large databases (1000 Genomes and the International HapMap3) to lifetime reproductive data from the Framingham Heart Study and identified more recent evolutionary genetic variations that are linked to heart disease. They then matched them to genetic variations contributing to greater reproductive success.

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.