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Body Clock Gene Fault Linked to Diabetes

Armen Hareyan's picture

Faults in an important body clock gene (MTNR1B) are associated with higher blood sugar levels and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to international teams of researchers.

MTNR1B helps control the action of the hormone melatonin on different parts of the body. Melatonin plays a role in drowsiness and the lowering of body temperature.

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The researchers, who analyzed the genomes of thousands of people, said their findings could lead to new ways to control or prevent diabetes, BBC News reported.

"Our research demonstrates that abnormalities in the circadian rhythm may partly be causing diabetes and high blood sugar levels -- we hope it will ultimately provide new options for treating people," said Professor Philippe Froguel of Imperial College London.

The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Nature Genetics.