Dyslipidemias, especially hyper-low-density lipoprotein cholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, are important causal risk factors for coronary artery disease. Comprehensive genotyping using the ‘next-generation sequencing’ technique has facilitated the investigation of Mendelian dyslipidemias, in addition to Mendelian randomization studies using common genetic variants associated with plasma lipids and coronary artery disease. The beneficial effects of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol-lowering therapies on coronary artery disease have been verified by many randomized controlled trials over the years, and subsequent genetic studies have supported these findings. More recently, Mendelian randomization studies have preceded randomized controlled trials. When the on-target/off-target effects of rare variants and common variants exhibit the same direction, novel drugs targeting molecules identified by investigations of rare Mendelian lipid disorders could be promising. Such a strategy could aid in the search for drug discovery seeds other than those for dyslipidemias.Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 5 January 2017; doi:10.1038/jhg.2016.159.