Study: Genetic variants associated with Type 2 diabetes found among South Asians

LONDON — A new study has identified six new genetic variants associated with Type 2 diabetes among South Asians.

An international teams of researchers, led by Imperial College London, noted that genetic factors have been "widely considered to play a role in the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes," and elected to examine the DNA of 18,731 people originating from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) with Type 2 diabetes and 39,856 healthy controls. The genomes of the participants were analyzed to look for locations where variations were more common in those with diabetes. The results identified six positions where differences of a single letter in the genetic code were associated with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that nearby genes have a role in the disease.

"Type 2 diabetes is more common in South Asian populations than any other ethnic group, but the reason for this increased risk is unclear," senior study author from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London John Chambers said. "Although lifestyle factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and obesity are important causes of diabetes in South Asians, these are only part of the explanation. Our study identifies six new genetic variants linked to Type 2 diabetes in South Asians. Our findings give important new insight into the genes underlying of diabetes in this population, which in the long term might lead to new treatments to prevent diabetes," Chambers said.

The research was published in Nature Genetics.

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