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Major international collaboration offers new clues to genetics of type 2 diabetes
Date:3/30/2008

he research backs up previous studies suggesting that a key process in the development of type 2 diabetes is the failure to regulate the number of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

In addition, the researchers have identified a surprising association between type 2 diabetes and the gene known as JAZF1, which has recently been shown to play a role in a very different condition, prostate cancer.

Genetic studies of this kind are revealing new and unsuspected connections between diseases, says Dr Eleftheria Zeggini from the University of Oxford, first author on the paper. This is now the second example of a gene which affects both type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer. We dont yet know what the connections are, but this has important implications for the future design of drugs for these conditions.

Each of the new genes only increases the risk of diabetes by a small amount, though when combined, their effects can be more impressive. However, the scientists caution against any immediate rush to use this information to give individual predictions of disease risk.

Once we more fully understand the large numbers of genes now implicated in diabetes risk, it might become possible to identify people at particularly high risk before the disease takes root, says Professor David Altshuler of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, USA, who led one of the three groups behind the research. However, until we have evidence that using such information results in better health outcomes, widespread genetic testing would be premature.

The research was made possible through an unprecedented collaborative effort that brought together many groups active in the field of diabetes research. This international collaboration provided access to large data samples, ensuring that the results are robust.

The findings have been welcomed by Professor Simon Howell, Chair of Diabetes UK, which funded the original collection of sa
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Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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