Gene: Type 2 Diabetes

Source: Gene test to spot adults who might get diabetes , 12-02-2007

An international team of scientists has identified five different genetic variants that are linked to the condition, which is caused both by family inheritance and lifestyle factors such as poor diet, obesity and smoking. The five variants are thought together to account for about 70 per cent of the genetic risk of type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease that generally strikes in adulthood.

Such a test could be used in a screening programme to pick up those who are most at risk, who could then alter their diet and exercise patterns accordingly. Professor Philippe Froguel of Imperial College, London, one of the leaders of the study, said: “The two major reasons why people develop type 2 diabetes are obesity and a family link. Our new findings mean that we can create a good genetic test to predict people’s risk of developing this type of diabetes.

One of the five genes, SLC30A8, is involved in transporting the mineral zinc in the body, and is known to be involved in secreting insulin, a hormone that is important to metabolising sugar.

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