New Type 2 diabetes genes found among multiple ethnic groups

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Researchers uncover 4 new genes for Type 2 diabetes
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Scientists know Type 2 diabetes risk is higher for people with gene variants, most of which have yet to be discovered. Researchers from the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have discovered 4 new genes that interact with environmental factors to raise the risk of developing diabetes that cross multiethnic groups.

The international study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, is co-authored by Richa Saxena, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Senior co-author Brendan J. Keating, Ph.D., of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said in a press release that Type 2 diabetes genes cross into different ethnic groups.

Keating explains scientists have only identified about 10 percent of gene variations that contribute to the disease and most studies have been based on people from European ancestry. The new study incorporated people from African-American, Hispanic, Asian and European ancestry.

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The researchers looked at 17,000 cases of individuals with Type 2 diabetes from 39 existing multiethnic group studies.

They discovered 4 new variations of previously unknown genes and verified 16 other known variants linked to Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers now know of 40 genes that contribute to Type 2 diabetes. The findings could lead to better therapies to treat the disease that affects almost 300 million people worldwide.

Citation::
American Journal of Human Genetics: doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.12.022
"Large-Scale Gene-Centric Meta-Analysis across 39 studies Identifies Type 2 Diabetes Loci"
Richa Saxena, et al.
February 9, 2012

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

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