Cardiovascular diseases are leading causes for death worldwide. Genetic disposition jointly with traditional risk factors precipitates their manifestation. Whereas the implications of a positive family history for individual risk have been known for a long time, only in the past few years have genome-wide association studies (GWAS) shed light on the underlying genetic variations. Here, we review these studies designed to increase our understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases, particularly coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction. We focus on the newly established pathways to exemplify the translation from the identification of risk-related genetic variants to new preventive and therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular disease.