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
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy