Wednesday, August 31, 2011
An international team of researchers has identified six new genetic variants associated with type-2 diabetes in South Asians
People of South Asian ancestry are up to four times more likely than Europeans to develop type 2 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Around 55 million South Asian people are affected worldwide, and the number is projected to rise to 80 million by 2030. This new study is the first to focus on genes underlying diabetes amongst people originating from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). The researchers from around the world examined the DNA of 18,731 people with type 2 diabetes and 39,856 healthy controls. The genomes of the participants were analyzed to look for locations where variations were more common in those with diabetes. The results identified six positions where differences of a single letter in the genetic code were associated with type 2 diabetes, suggesting that nearby genes have a role in the disease. Type 2 diabetes is more common in South Asian populations than any other ethnic group. This is the first genome-wide association study in South Asians, who comprise one-quarter of the globe's population, and who carry a high burden of the disease and its complications, including heart attack and stroke.