Los Angeles-based University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine scientists are part of an international team of researchers in Mexico and the United States that uncovered a new genetic clue that contributes to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to the schools website.
The team performed one of the largest genetic studies in Mexican and Mexican-American populations, discovering a risk gene for Type 2 diabetes that had gone undetected in previous efforts.
The study indicates people who carry the higher risk version of the gene are 25% more likely to have diabetes than those who do not, and people who inherited copies from both parents are 50% more likely to have diabetes, according to the website story.
The higher risk form of the gene has been found in up to half of people who have recent Native American ancestry, including Latin Americans. The variant is found in about 20% of East Asians and is rare in populations from Europe and Africa, the study shows.
This is another clear example of why we need to be conducting genetic studies in diverse populations, as here we found a locus for Type 2 diabetes that has been missed in previous efforts, which may contribute to the greater burden of disease in Latinos, Christopher Haiman, ScD, associate professor of preventive medicine, said in the website story. Haiman, along with Distinguished Professor Brian Henderson, MD, comprise the Keck School team working on the international study.
The elevated frequency of this risk gene in Latin Americans could account for as much as 20% of the populations increased prevalence of Type 2 diabetes the origins of which are not well understood.
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