Research reveals processes that lead to Type 2 diabetes

DNA sequence

Researchers from the University of Liverpool, working with colleagues from Oxford and international partners, have improved the understanding of the processes that can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in Nature Genetics, shows how specific genetic variants can impact the risk a person has of developing the disease.

Identifying DNA sequence changes that are most likely involved in mediating diabetes risk, the researchers determined what was ‘special’ about those changes. They were able to find a strong signal for the positions in the genome that interact with a regulatory protein which has an important role in ensuring genes work correctly

Large-scale study

Study involved analysis of large-scale genetic data from over 200,000 individuals (one quarter with diabetes) and focused on regions of the genome that have recently been identified as being important in relation to type 2 diabetes risk.

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow Professor Andrew Morris, from the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine, said: “Previously, it has not been clear how genetic variants impact disease risk. However, by getting closer to many of the specific genetic changes that influence diabetes risk, we could for the first time detect signals that are important in the development of the disease.”

Clinical practice

Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Professor Mark McCarthy from Oxford University, said: “We were able to identify specific signatures of DNA variants that influence individual risk of type 2 diabetes. This is an important step forward in our ability to connect genetic findings to molecular events in key organs, and to understand the biological processes involved.”

Professor Andrew Morris added: “Our study of these genetic variants has furthered our understanding of the underlying biological processes involved in type 2 diabetes and other complex human diseases, offering a promising avenue for translation into clinical practice.”

The full paper can be found on the following site:

DNA Sequence

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