24 June-2014: A new gene mutation has been discovered, which could help identify patients that could be at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The research, published in the Nature journal, has found a genetic susceptibility gives a tenfold increased risk of developing the condition, and also provides more insight about the causes behind type 2 diabetes.
The findings, based on the population of Greenland and carried out by Danish scientists, further supports the theory that genetics play a role in the chances of developing diabetes. However, other factors such as lifestyle and diet can also increase the risk.
It is not the first gene mutation that has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes, as there are now several. This could help doctors better identify and diagnose the condition, as well as forewarning patients that carry one of these genes and are so deemed to be vulnerable to the disease.
According to the researchers, around a fifth of Greenland’s population is found to have this latest gene mutation.
Professor Torben Hansen, of the University of Copenhagen, told the BBC that it had not been found in other European, Chinese or African-American populations, suggesting type 2 diabetes has multiple causes.
He told the British broadcaster that this gene could increase a person’s risk of the condition by up to ten times, though the condition is “not just one disease, it’s many diseases,” and therefore has multiple contributing factors.
Along with his team, Professor Hansen screened for genetic links to type 2 diabetes in more than 2,570 people living in Greenland. They found that a mutation in a gene called TBC1D4, present in 17 per cent of the population studied, increased the risk of developing diabetes.
“We have identified a new and novel type 2 diabetes gene with a huge increased risk due to insulin resistance in muscle,” added Professor Hansen.
It is hoped that this research, along with other similar studies, will help doctors better diagnose those patients who are vulnerable to the condition, as well as providing new insight to help develop new prevention and treatment methods.
(Input source: Labmate)