A collaboration between a number of different gene monitoring projects has found that mutations of a particular gene can reduce susceptibility to type 2 diabetes by 65%.
In total, 150,000 patients were involved in the genetic analysis which is published in the Nature Genetics journal.
The research dates back almost 5 years ago. In 2009 the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Lund University in Sweden and Pfizer Inc embarked upon a project to identify genetic mutations which may reduce a person’s risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
The research looked for people at high risk of diabetes, such as those that were of advanced age and obese but that had managed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
To study gene mutations across the billions of genes in the human body would have been an overwhelming task, so the researchers focused their investigation on a particular gene, SLC30A8, which was known to play a role in type 2 diabetes.
The SLC30A8 gene provides the genetic code zinc transportation which affects the secretion of insulin. The produced results in the identification of a genetic mutation for the SLC30A8 gene that was associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes in an otherwise high risk individuals within Sweden and Finland.
Buoyed by success, the researchers widened their investigations by working with data from the deCODE genetics research project, a project based in Iceland. The Icelandic data also provided positive results with a second gene mutation found that decreased diabetes risk in high risk individuals.
With more than one mutation found, the researchers widened their search further to investigate a broader range of ethnic groups. The researchers next collaborated with the T2D-GENES Project funded by the US National Institutes of Health. This project provided another 13,000 genetic samples and resulted in the discovery of 10 more genetic mutations of the SLC30A8 gene.
When all the results were combined, the researchers saw that the presence of one copy of one of these 12 mutated forms of the SLC30A8 gene led to a reduction in type 2 diabetes incidence of 65%.
The researchers are now keen to see whether a drug can be developed which mimics the effect of the gene mutations in preventing diabetes.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…