Genetic risks for type 2 diabetes span multiple ethnicities

 

Science Codex – February 9, 2012 – 5:54pm

A recent large and comprehensive analysis of 50,000 genetic variants across 2,000 genes linked to cardiovascular and metabolic function has identified four genes associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and six independent disease-associated variants at previously known loci. The findings, which provide valuable insight into the genetic risk for T2D across multiple ethnicities, add to the growing list of genetic variants that affect the risk of developing T2D and could pave the way for identification of valuable drug targets. The research will be published by Cell Press on February 9th in The American Journal of Human Genetics, the official journal of the American Society of Human Genetics.

Multiple environmental and genetic factors are linked with T2D, which is the most common form of diabetes. “Together, known T2D genetic variants explain only about 10% of the genetic variance, indicating that additional genetic factors are likely to contribute to disease risk,” explains senior co-author Dr. Brendan J. Keating, from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Further, previous studies have been based almost exclusively on individuals of European ancestry, and genetic contributors to T2D are less well understood in non-European populations. An important first step towards understanding genetic risk across populations is to establish whether known T2D-associated genes span ethnicities or are population specific.” Read more