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It is well recognised that low birth weight babies are at increased risk of vascular and metabolic diseases in later life.1,2 Barker and colleagues postulated that this was the result of fetal adaptation to inadequate intrauterine nutrition.1 If true, dietary supplementation of women should be considered as a potential public health intervention to reduce the burden of ischaemic heart disease in future generations. However, recent studies have demonstrated that mothers of low birth weight babies were themselves at increased risk of later ischaemic heart disease.3,4 This finding is difficult to explain by the Barker hypothesis and points to a possible common genetic predisposition to both ischaemic heart disease and pregnancy complications. Many genetic variants have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of ischaemic heart disease and many more are likely to exist which remain to be discovered. In the present study we used family history of premature death from ischaemic heart disease as …