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From biological basics to diabetes discovery
Date:1/17/2010

In two major studies published in Nature Genetics today, researchers use biological understanding to dissect the genetics of diabetes. An international team comprising researchers from more than 100 institutions analysed vast suites of genetic data from more than 100,000 people of European descent to uncover the associations.

In the first study, the team identified ten novel genetic markers for biological traits underlying type 2 diabetes. In a companion paper the same consortium identified three new variants that are associated with raised levels of glucose seen in a common test for type 2 diabetes. The results help to unravel the complex biological story of type 2 diabetes: as well as revealing five new associations that influence directly the risk of diabetes, this research will drive studies to understand the biology of disease and to search for treatments to alleviate the burden caused by the disease.

The team are working to understand the normal metabolism of glucose as well as diseases of glucose metabolism, such as diabetes. They seek to uncover new genetic variants that are risk factors for the development of diabetes, as well as identifying genes that influence variation in the healthy range. Diabetes occurs when our bodies fail to produce sufficient insulin or when our cells fail to recognise and react to the insulin produced, resulting in abnormally high blood glucose or sugar levels.

The research was done by the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related Traits Consortium (MAGIC) who examined several commonly used measures including levels of fasting glucose and insulin and blood sugar levels two hours after an oral sugar challenge.

They searched data from population studies of people without diabetes to examine the links between glucose levels and SNPs single letter changes in the genome that can act as markers for particular physical traits or disease. They found nine new genetic regions associated w
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Contact: Don Powell
press.officer@sanger.ac.uk
44-012-234-96928
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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