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Type 2 Diabetes Gene Discovery PDF Print Email

Type 2 Diabetes Genes Discovery

 

It is reported that scientists have discovered a group of genes that increase the chance of developing diabetes dramatically.  The discovery may help develop cheaper drugs and simple treatments.

 

The breakthrough came from a study of data pooled from comparing the DNA of 35,000 people with type 2 diabetes and 115,000 people without the condition.
10 new common genes were found that are associated with an increase of between 7 and 13% in a person's odds of developing type 2 diabetes. These studies looked at whether specific genetic variations in the DNA code occurred more often in people with type 2 diabetes than those without diabetes.
Researchers identified various genes that could be responsible for affecting type 2 diabetes risk, but more research will be needed to confirm that these are definitely involved.

 

Both genetic and environmental factors (such as diet and physical activity) contribute to a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These findings bring the total known genetic variations associated with type 2 diabetes to more than 60. This large number of common variations suggests that each contributes only a modest amount to a person's chance of developing the condition.

 

It is hoped that having a greater understanding of how type 2 diabetes occurs may help in the development of new treatments however, more research will be needed.
The study was conducted by international researchers belonging to the DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) Consortium. The study was funded by a large number of government, research and charity organisations, including Diabetes UK.

 

The research involved a statistical pooling of data from controlled studies with the aim of identifying genetic variations associated with type 2 diabetes. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, genetic variations in 56 different areas are known to be associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. However, these are thought only to account for about 10% of the genetic component of risk for type 2 diabetes. The study tried to identify more genetic variations associated with type 2 diabetes, and to look at whether looking at all the genetic variations could suggest something about how the condition comes about.
Pooling large amounts of data helps researchers identify the influence of genetic variations which separately only contribute a small amount to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

This was a sufficiently large study and found further genetic variations that may contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes. These findings show how many different genetic variations can contribute only a relatively small effect.

 

The variations identified by the researchers as being associated with the condition do not necessarily themselves affect type 2 diabetes risk. They may instead lie close to other variations that have the effect. The researchers have identified a number of genes near to these variations that may be responsible, and will need to carry out further research to confirm this. Much more research will be needed to see if these results can be translated into successful treatments.

 

More information on diabetes is available within the health advice section of this website.
If you are concerned about diabetes, have a family history of the condition or are worried about being overweight, your local pharmacist is a good place to seek advice. They can discuss any concerns you may have and offer a simple test for type 2 diabetes.