The presence of one particular gene within the body can significantly increase the risk of diabetes .
A UK team has found that those people who have two copies of a mutated TCF7L2 are almost 50 per cent to develop type 2 diabetes over a long period of time. The risk, according to the researchers, puts people in the same category as the clinically obese .
The new research will be published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine, and could be responsible for the greater percentage of UK diabetes cases. Diabetes is a major problem in the UK, with over two million sufferers.
Diabetes is usually associated with risk factors such as inactivity and obesity, yet genetic factors are just coming to be realised as having a major influence. The researchers surveyed a study group of almost 3,000 people. The study group were followed over a period of 15 years.
One expert from the UCL Centre for Cardiovascular Genetics, Professor Steve Humphries, said: “Although being overweight is the major risk factor for developing diabetes, it is now becoming clear that an individual’s genetic makeup has a big impact on whether or not they are going to develop diabetes. This is the first study that has followed healthy men and shown that carrying this risk gene has such a big effect. Because it is so common, and because the risk is so high, this gene seems to be causing as many cases of diabetes in the UK as obesity, which we know is the biggest risk factor.”

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