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Researchers Identify New Genetic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

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The research was carried out in conjunction with the work of two other teams: the Diabetes Genetics Initiative, which is a collaboration of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Mass.; Lund University, Malmo, Sweden; and Novartis, Basel, Switzerland; and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium/U.K. Type 2 Diabetes Genetics Consortium. The Diabetes Genetics Initiative was led by David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., Broad Institute; Leif Groop, M.D., Ph.D., Lund University; and Thomas Hughes, Ph.D., Novartis. The British team was led by Mark McCarthy, M.D., FRCP, Oxford University and Andrew Hattersley, D.M., FRCP, Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth.

"It's been a formidable challenge to identify the complex genetic factors involved in common diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Now, thanks to the tools and technologies generated by the sequencing of the human genome and subsequent mapping of common human genetic variations, we finally are making significant progress," said NHGRI Director Collins, who led the NIH component of the Human Genome Project.

Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 21 million people in the United States, and the incidence of the disease has skyrocketed in the U.S. and many other developed nations over the last 30 years. Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, as well as the most common cause in U.S. adults of blindness, kidney failure and amputations not related to trauma.

NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., said, "These genetic findings are exciting news for diabetes research. While more work remains to be done, the newly identified genetic variants may point us in the direction of valuable new drug targets for the prevention or treatment of type 2 diabetes."

Previously known as adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM), type 2 diabetes usually appears after age 40, often in overweight, sedentary individuals. However, an increasing number of young
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