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10 new diabetes gene links offer picture of biology underlying disease
Date:8/12/2012

Ten more DNA regions linked to type 2 diabetes have been discovered by an international team of researchers, bringing the total to over 60.

The study provides a fuller picture of the genetics and biological processes underlying type 2 diabetes, with some clear patterns emerging.

The international team, led by researchers from the University of Oxford, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, used a new DNA chip to probe deeper into the genetic variations that commonly occur in our DNA and which may have some connection to type 2 diabetes.

Their findings are published in the journal Nature Genetics.

'The ten gene regions we have shown to be associated with type 2 diabetes are taking us nearer a biological understanding of the disease,' says principal investigator Professor Mark McCarthy of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. 'It is hard to come up with new drugs for diabetes without first having an understanding of which biological processes in the body to target. This work is taking us closer to that goal.'

Approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes in the UK, and there are thought to be perhaps a further 850,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can cause many different health problems including heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and blindness. Even a mildly raised glucose level can have damaging effects in the long-term.

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of the disease. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to control the level of glucose in the blood, and when the body no longer reacts effectively to the insulin that is produced.

The researchers analysed DNA from almost 35,000 people with type 2 diabetes and approximately 115,000 people without, identifying 10 new ge
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Contact: University of Oxford press office
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Source:Eurekalert

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