A recently discovered gene, dubbed ‘gene X’ by experts, could seriously increase the odds of developing type 1 diabetes. The latest research in this field indicates that children who inherit the gene could face an 80 per cent increase in risk.
The study was carried out at the University of Colorado, and is published online in the September issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Type 1 diabetes has always been regarded as including a strong genetic component . The study team used simple analysis to combine known high-risk genes with the recently discovered gene X. The study examined the families of people with type 1 diabetes, and aimed to uncover specific gene types.
The team found that children who inherited all the genes were more likely to develop diabetes, and those who inherited some of the genes also faced an increased risk. The new results could help to identify those children who are at risk of developing type 1 diabetes, and perhaps even lead the way to preventing the condition.
The authors of the study wrote: “It may be much easier to prevent anti-islet autoimmunity than to prevent progression to diabetes once anti-islet autoimmunity is initiated … Infants and children who have the highest genetic risk for diabetes as defined by this study are a major group that may now be considered for initial clinical trials to prevent childhood diabetes before the development of anti-islet autoantibodies.”

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