Scientists in the UK and the US have discovered ten more DNA regions connected to the onset of type 2 diabetes, bringing the total to more than 60.
Researchers from the University of Oxford, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and the University of Michiga, joined forces to probe deeper into the genetic variations between individuals that affect the risk of type 2 diabetes.
After analysing DNA from almost 35,000 people with type 2 diabetes and roughly 115,000 people, they identified ten new gene regions where DNA changes could be reliably linked to risk of the metabolic disease .
Two of these so-called DNA “hotspots” showed different effects in men and women, with one associated with greater diabetes risk in men and the other in women.
The research, which is published in the journal Nature Genetics, provides a clearer picture of the genetics and biological processes underlying the most common form of diabetes mellitus.
Lead investigator Professor Mark McCarthy, from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University, said: “The 10 gene regions we have shown to be associated with Type 2 diabetes are taking us nearer a biological understanding of the disease .
“By looking at all 60 or so gene regions together we can look for signatures of the type of genes that influence the risk of Type 2 diabetes.”
As part of the next stage of this research, Professor McCarthy is currently leading another international study that has sequenced the entire genetic codes of 2,800 people with and without diabetes in an effort to obtain complete information about genetic changes driving type 2 diabetes.
“Now we have the ability to do a complete job, capturing all genetic variation linked to type 2 diabetes,” he continued. “Not only will we be able to look for signals we’ve so far missed, but we will also be able to pinpoint which individual DNA change is responsible.
“These genome sequencing studies will really help us push forward towards a more complete biological understanding of diabetes.”

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