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Study uncovers new diabetes genes

27 June 2010 (BBC)

Twelve new genes linked with type 2 diabetes have been found in a study into the differences in people's DNA and their risk of having the condition.

A consortium including Edinburgh University scientists have identified "important clues to the biological basis of type 2 diabetes". It is hoped the findings will lead to better ways of treating the condition.

The genes tend to be involved in working cells producing insulin, which controls levels of glucose in blood. The 12 new genes brings the total number linked with type 2 diabetes to 38.

The study was led by researchers at Oxford University and forms part of the Wellcome Trust case control consortium. The group of researchers, from across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, compared the DNA of more than 8,000 people with type 2 diabetes with almost 40,000 people without the condition. They then checked the genetic variations they found in another group including over 34,000 people with diabetes and almost 60,000 controls.

Dr. Jim Wilson, of Edinburgh University, said: "One very interesting finding is that the diabetes susceptibility genes also contain variants that increase the risk of unrelated diseases, including skin and prostate cancer, coronary heart disease and high cholesterol. "This implies that different regulation of these genes can lead to many different diseases."

Professor Mark McCarthy of Oxford University's Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, 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. "The challenge will be to turn these genetic findings into better ways of treating and preventing the condition."

Sources include:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/scotland/edinburgh_east_and_fife/10416128.stm
http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/dna-testing.htm
http://www.ocdem.ox.ac.uk/home
http://www.ndm.ox.ac.uk/principal-investigators/researcher/mark-mccarthy
http://www.diabetes.org.uk
http://www.wtccc.org.uk

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