They then added genetic data from another 34,000 people with diabetes and close to 60,000 controls.
The genes they found were associated with well-known biological processes of diabetes, namely beta-cell function (these are the pancreatic cells that produce insulin) and insulin performance, as well as cell-cycle regulation.
An unexpected finding was that one of the genes resides on the X chromosome. "That's important because it may indicate maternal inheritance," Zonszein explained.
"X chromosome association has been rare in most complex diseases, and this is the first one identified for type 2 diabetes," McCauley explained.
Also interesting is the fact that seven of the regions are known to be involved in other diseases or human characteristics including height, certain cardiovascular risk factors, and skin and prostate cancer.
"There are independent associated signals in what we would consider to be unrelated diseases or unrelated phenotypes," McCauley stated. "This further points out that biology is complex. Genes do a lot of things. They're involved with a lot of networks."
The American Diabetes Association has more on type 2 diabetes.
SOURCES: Joel Zonszein, M.D., director, Clinical Diabetes Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Jacob L. McCauley, Ph.D., assistant professor, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine; June 27, 2010, Nature Genetics
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