A gene for type 2 diabetes, perceived by many as one of the ‘holy grails’ remaining in scientific exploratio, has been discovered by a team of researchers headed by a Scottish scientist.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when a (previously unknown) genetic predisposition is coupled with environmental triggers such as poor diet and exercise. The discovered gene regulates glucagon in the bloodstream (glucagon is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels), and when present sends the propensity to develop type 2 diabetes spiralling. People with the gene are at risk between 45% and 140% more.
The gene is extremely common in Northern Europeans, and could possibly be even more so in other populations. Approximately 1/3rd of Northern Europeans carry the gene, which accounts for one in five of all type 2 diabetes cases.
Experts are forecasting that the discovery has massive implications in the treatment and early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
The research team worked from the deCODE facility in Iceland and found the gene by comparing innumerable DNA structures of diabetic and non-diabetic patients.
The CEO of deCODE and one of the principal members of the study, Kari Stefansso, was reported as saying “We estimate this gene variant accounts for about 20% of T2D cases. [The discovery] is ideal for the development of a genetic test for assessing individual risk and developing more personalised and effective prevention strategies.”

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