Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Link 11 Genetic Variations to Type 2 Diabetes

Mathematicians at Michigan Technological University have developed powerful new tools for winnowing out the genes behind some of humanity’s most intractable diseases.

With one, they can cast back through generations to pinpoint the genes behind inherited illness. With another, they have isolated 11 variations within genes—called single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs or "snips"—associated with type 2 diabetes.

"With chronic, complex diseases like Parkinson's, diabetes and ALS [Lou Gehrig's disease], multiple genes are involved," said Qiuying Sha, an assistant professor of mathematical sciences. "You need a powerful test."

That test is the Ensemble Learning Approach (ELA), software that can detect a set of SNPs that jointly have a significant effect on a disease.

... more about:
»Genetic »SNP »genes

With complex inherited conditions, including type 2 diabetes, single genes may precipitate the disease on their own, while other genes cause disease when they act together. In the past, finding these gene-gene combinations has been especially unwieldy, because the calculations needed to match up suspect genes among the 500,000 or so in the human genome have been virtually impossible.

ELA sidesteps this problem, first by drastically narrowing the field of potentially dangerous genes, and second, by applying statistical methods to determine which SNPs act on their own and which act in combination. "We thought it was pretty cool," Sha said.

To test their model on real data, Sha’s team analyzed genes from over 1,000 people in the United Kingdom, half with type 2 diabetes and half without. They identified 11 SNPs that, singly or in pairs, are linked to the disease with a high degree of probability. Their work has been accepted by the journal Genetic Epidemiology and is available online at .

ELA is used to compare the genetic makeup of unrelated individuals to sort out disease-related genes. The team has also developed another approach, which uses a two-stage association test that incorporates founders' phenotypes, called TTFP, that can examine the genomes of family members going back generations.

"In the past, researchers have dealt with the nuclear family, parents and children, but this could go back to grandparents, great-grandparents . . . as far back as you want."

The team has published their findings in the European Journal of Human Genetics. An abstract is available at .

Now that they’ve developed the software, the analysis is relatively simple, says Sha. But getting the genetic data to work on is not. "We don’t have the data sets yet to work with," she says, clearly frustrated. "That’s the problem with having no medical school."

Those who do have data sets, however, can use the team’s software to help find the causes—and hopefully, the cures—for a panoply of illnesses. ELA is available in Windows and Linux versions at, and TTFP is available by request.

Other members of Michigan Tech's statistical genetics group are Associate Professor Shuanglin Zhang and postdoctoral scientists Zhaogong Zhang and Tao Feng.

Marcia Goodrich | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Genetic SNP genes

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>