Researchers identify genes that increase type 1 diabetes risk

Tue, 10 Mar 2015
Genetics experts have reportedly identified a number of genes that increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.

The results have been hailed as a "game-changer for type 1 diabetes" by Patrick Concannon, director of the University of Florida Genetics Institute.

Researchers from UF had obtained information on the genetic makeup of 27,000 people. This included whether or not participants had type 1 diabetes.

Differences in DNA were examined and in some genomic regions, the number of DNA variations that cause disease, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), were reduced from thousands down to single digits.

"That will make diabetes researchers' work more effective and efficient by giving them the most detailed directions yet about where to look for the genetic variations that cause type 1 diabetes and perhaps other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis," Concannon said.

Lead author Stephen S. Rich, director of the Centre for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia, and his team believe these findings are significant as being able to assess the variants that cause type 1 diabetes can lead to new treatment targets.

"Ultimately, this information will allow researchers and clinicians to tailor treatments to correct underlying defects in the immune system that allow for autoimmune disease development," added Todd Brusko, assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine's department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, part of UF Health.

The results of this study appeared in the journal Nature Genetics.
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