Research reveals 12 genomic regions associated with type 2 diabetes

Scientists from the University of Michigan have found 12 regions of the genome that have DNA variants associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Variants - sequences of DNA that differ from person to person - may increase an individual's predisposition to some diseases.

Lead author Laura Scott and her colleagues found that people who had not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes - but possessed the variant for the disease - had elevated levels of blood glucose. The researchers were surprised to find that regions containing the diabetes variant seemed to be associated with other non-related diseases.

"What our study suggests is that many of these variants are associated with changes in glucose levels long before people get diabetes," said researcher Michael Boehnke. "We saw surprising overlap or predisposition of not just related but also apparently unrelated traits."

The team hopes to utilize genome sequencing to assay more than 3 billion base pairs in humans. With this technique, they hope to find less common variants that could be associated with type 2 diabetes.

These findings were published in the June issue of Nature.