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International study identifies 12 new genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes
Date:6/28/2010

Neuherberg, Dsseldorf, June, 28. 2010. An international consortium including Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen and the German Diabetes Center, Dsseldorf has identified 12 new gene variants which impact the individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study represents a major contribution towards elucidating the complex pathogenesis of this important widespread disease. Nature Genetics has published the findings of this study in its current issue.

To elucidate the genetic causes of type 2 diabetes, scientists from Germany, the U.S., Great Britain, Iceland and eight other countries analyzed the data of more than 140,000 study participants. The scientists were able to identify 12 new genetic risk factors, of which 11 influence insulin production or the effect of insulin. Moreover, for the first time, a genetic association of type 2 diabetes with the X chromosome was proven. This could be a first clue to the gender-specific differences in diabetes risk: Women have two X chromosomes, men have one X and one Y chromosome. Altogether, 38 genetic risk factors are currently known for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

"Once we know the exact causes of type 2 diabetes, we can develop more effective prevention and therapy strategies," said Dr. Thomas Illig, research group leader at the Institute of Epidemiology of Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen and one of the corresponding authors of the study. Dr. Cornelia Huth, who played a key role in the selection of the study participants and the analyses of Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen, added: "What enabled us to identify these factors with a high level of confidence is the large number of investigated subjects in this collaborative study. Each factor by itself contributes only slightly to the entire diabetes risk. But to find out more about the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease, even these slight contributions are important." Dr. Christian Herder and Dr. Wolfgang Rathmann, both of whom are research group leaders at the Germa
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Contact: Sven Winkler
presse@helmholtz-muenchen.de
49-989-318-73946
Helmholtz Zentrum Mnchen - German Research Center for Environmental Health
Source:Eurekalert

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