Largest Type 2 Diabetes Study

by Mark Benson on February 14, 2012

Type 2 diabetes study links genetic markers

The latest and largest Type 2 diabetes study has identified new genetic variations that are associated with the increased risk of developing this metabolic disease. The study was conducted by an international consortium that observed multiethnic populations and was able uncovered genes that may be the markers to be able to develop more effective drug regimens to control or even cure Type 2 diabetes.

It is very well known that multiple genetic and environmental factors interact to lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes. This metabolic condition afflicts nearly 300 million individuals worldwide but the genetic markers that lead to its development remain to be a mystery.

According to Senior study co-author Brendan J. Keating, PhD, “Scientists have identified only about ten percent of the genetic variants contributing to Type 2 Diabetes and most previous studies have been based on people of European ancestry.” The study was conducted by the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. There were international components to the study that found that many international genetic variations, such as African American, Hispanic, Asian and European ancestry overlap across multiple ethnic groups.

The study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Another co-author of the study was Richa Saxena PhD from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The consortium conducted the study through a meta-analysis of 39 existing studies of multiethnic groups, totaling 17,000 individual cases of Type 2 diabetes and 70,000 individuals who are diabetes free. The screening of the study used a customized genetic analysis tool that examined 50,000 genetic variations of 2,100 genes associated with metabolic as well as cardiovascular functions.

Through this process, the researchers were able to identify four unknown genes that were associated with Type 2 diabetes and found six new independent genetic markers in known Type 2 diabetes genes. The study also verified sixteen previously found Type 2 diabetes linked variations. With this study, there are now a total of forty generic variations that have been found to raise or lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Keating added, “The current study’s genome-wide screening approach in large multi-ethnic samples should be effective in discovering additional gene variants relevant to multiple ethnic populations. As we continue to identify more genes associated with Type 2 diabetes, we expect that further investigation of their specific biological functions will guide researchers toward new therapies for preventing and treating this disease.”

The main groups that would be funding this study were the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health through the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) study together with the British Heart Foundation.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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