New study helps bring into focus genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes

A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health may have found a set of genes that control the function of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which may shed more light on the causes of type 2 diabetes.

Investigators identified segments of the DNA of islet cells, which are partially responsible for the pancreas' production of insulin. It has been speculated that a malfunction of these cells may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH, said that the data generated from these findings could assist future researchers direct their studies to areas of genetics that may prove to be more fruitful.

"These findings represent important strides that were not possible just five years ago, but that are now realized with advances in genome sequencing technologies," he said. "The power of DNA sequencing is allowing us to go from studies of a few genes at a time to profiling the entire genome. The scale is tremendously expanded."

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