Scientists Discover New Diabetes Genes

Six variants each add risk for developing the disease
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2008 9:40 AM CDT
Scientists Discover New Diabetes Genes
Top worldwide diabetic populations, percentage of diabetes types and types of treatment used.   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Scientists pooling data from European and US studies have identified six more genes associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, the Guardian reports. The study, published in Nature Genetics, found small but significant connections between the genes and the disease, with certain genetic variants linked to a 10-15% increase in risk. Researchers hope the discovery can lead to developments in prevention and treatment.

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Scientists don't know why these genes affect diabetes rates, but suspect they may influence cells' ability to overcome insulin resistance. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond properly to insulin produced by beta cells in the pancreas. "One of the most exciting bits is that we're finding lots of unexpected connections," said a researcher, who noted that one of the six genes has also been linked to prostate cancer. (Read more diabetes stories.)

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