Newly discovered genetic locations sheds further light on type 2 diabetes

Benedict Jephcote
Fri, 05 May 2017
Newly discovered genetic locations sheds further light on type 2 diabetes
Newly discovered genetic locations could be the answer to discovering why some people are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.

A total of 76 chromosomal locations, otherwise known as loci, had already been identified, which researchers believed were linked to the condition.

Interestingly, very few of the already identifiable loci were found in the African American communities, where type 2 diabetes numbers are nearly double those among the European population.

But now, a team from University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London (ICL) say they have found a further 111 which are related to the genetics of those with type 2.

Among the newly discovered gene locations, 93 were identified in both African American and European populations whilst only 18 were European-specific.

As part of the study, data from nearly 6,000 people with the condition was collected and a further 9,700 healthy people were also recruited.

Dr Winston Lau, of UCL's Genetics, Evolution and Environment department, said: "Our results mean that we can now target the remaining loci on the genetic maps with deep sequencing to try and find the causal mutations within them.

"We are also very excited that most of the identified disease loci appear to confer risk of disease in diverse populations such as African Americans, implying our findings are likely to be universally applicable and not just confined to Europeans."

Co-author Dr Nikolas Maniatis added: "No disease with a genetic predisposition has been more intensely investigated than type 2 diabetes. We have proven the benefits of gene mapping to identify hundreds of locations where causal mutations might be across many populations, including African Americans.

"This provides a larger number of characterised loci for scientists to study and will allow us to build a more detailed picture of the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes.

"We are now in a strong position to build upon these genomic results, and we can apply the same methods to other complex diseases such as Alzheimer's disease."

The study's findings have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics journal.
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