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13 Aug 2012
Diabetes genes 'breakthrough'
"Scientists have discovered a clutch of genes that dramatically increase the risk of developing diabetes," reports the Daily Express. The newspaper says the breakthrough "could help develop simple and cheap drugs to tackle the life-threatening illness".
This story is based on a study that pooled data from studies comparing the DNA of almost 35,000 people with type 2 diabetes and 115,000 people without the condition.
The researchers found 10 new common genetic variations that are associated with an increase of between 7 and 13% in a person's odds of developing type 2 diabetes. These studies looked at whether specific single "letter" differences (genetic variations) in the DNA code occurred more often in people with type 2 diabetes than those without the condition.
Researchers identified various genes that could be responsible for affecting type 2 diabetes risk, but more research will be needed to confirm that these are definitely involved.
Both genetic and environmental factors (such as diet and physical activity) contribute to a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These findings bring the total known genetic variations associated with type 2 diabetes to more than 60. This large number of common variations suggests that each contributes only a modest amount to a person's chance of developing the condition.
It is hoped that having a greater understanding of how type 2 diabetes occurs may help in the development of new treatments. Much more research will be needed to determine if this will become a reality.
For more on this see the NHS Choices website.