Doctors have identified genes connected to type 2 diabetes, which could allow them to build a DNA profile of those people who are at risk from the disease. They hope that an understanding of what genes are involved in diabetes will help in recognising who may be susceptible to the metabolic condition, as well as leading to potential new drug treatments that can target the genetic faults involved.
An international consortium of researchers led by Professor Mark McCarthy of the University of Oxford examined the DNA of over 8,000 people with type 2 diabetes and nearly 40,000 people without the condition at almost 2.5 million locations across the genome . They identified 12 new genes during their research, bringing the total number of genetic regions that are known to be associated with type 2 diabetes up to 38.
The genes in question are involved in the production and control of insulin by pancreatic cells, which is crucial for controlling levels of glucose in the blood.
The study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, has brought a greater awareness of the processes that underpin type 2 diabetes, and open up new biological pathways that can targeted for new therapies.
Professor McCarthy said “Gradually we are piecing together clues about why some people get diabetes and others don’t, with the potential for developing better treatments and preventing onset of diabetes in the future.”

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