The research, published online in Nature, is the first time the genetic makeup of any disease has been mapped in such detail. It should enable scientists to develop a genetic test to show an individual their likelihood of developing diabetes mellitus type 2, commonly known as type-2 diabetes.
The researchers identified four loci, or points on individuals’ genetic maps, which corresponded to a risk of developing the disorder. The scientists, from Imperial College London, McGill University, Canada, and other international institutions, believe their findings explain up to 70% of the genetic background of type-2 diabetes.
In addition, one of the genetic mutations which they detected might further explain the causes behind type-2 diabetes, potentially leading to new treatments. The research revealed that people with type-2 diabetes have a mutation in a particular zinc transporter known as SLC30A8, which is involved in regulating insulin secretion. Type-2 diabetes is associated with a deficiency in insulin and the researchers believe it may be possible to treat it by fixing this transporter.
Professor Philippe Froguel, one of the authors of the study from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London, 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.
“If we can tell someone that their genetics mean they are pre-disposed towards type-2 diabetes, they will be much more motivated to change things such as their diet to reduce their chances of developing the disorder. We can also use what we know about the specific genetic mutations associated with type-2 diabetes to develop better treatments.”
The scientists reached their conclusions after comparing the genetic makeup of 700 people with type-2 diabetes and a family history of the condition, with 700 controls. They looked at mutations in the building blocks, called nucleotides, which make up DNA.
There are mutations in around one in every 600 nucleotides and the scientists examined over 392,000 of these mutations to find the ones specific to type-2 diabetes. The mutations are known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms.
The researchers confirmed their findings by analysing the genetic makeup of a further 5,000 individuals with type-2 diabetes and a family history of the disorder, to verify that the same genetic mutations were visible in these individuals.
Professor David Balding, co-author on the study from Imperial’s Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, said: "Until now, progress in understanding how genes influence disease has been painfully slow. This study is one of the first large studies to report results using the new genome-wide technology that governments and research charities have invested heavily in during the past few years.
“Our research shows that this technology can generate big leaps forward. The task now is to study the genes identified in our work more intensively, to understand more fully the disease processes involved, devise therapies for those affected and to try to prevent future cases," he added.
This work was funded by Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Cohort recruitment was supported by the Association Francaise des Diabetiques, INSERM, CNAMTS, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Poitiers, La Fondation de France and industrial partners.
Laura Gallagher | alfa
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy