The new findings bring the total number of genes or genomic regions implicated in diabetes to 16, said Laura Scott, assistant research scientist in the Department of Biostatistics. Researchers from the University of Michigan were one of three teams of scientists in Europe and North America that led the multi-group collaboration. The findings provide new insights into the mechanisms which are usually responsible for the control of glucose, or sugar, levels in the blood, and to the derangements that can result in type 2 diabetes.
One of the newly discovered genes, which go by the name of JAZF1, contains a separate variant that has recently been shown to play a role in prostate cancer, and is the second gene that appears to play a role in both conditions. The first identified overlap between genes for prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes was with HNF1B, which is also involved in an early onset form of diabetes discovered at University of Michigan in an unrelated study, called Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). In HNF1B, the same variant that is associated with increased risk of diabetes is associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer. In JAZF1, the diabetes and prostate cancer variants reside in different parts of the gene and there is no known relationship between them.
"The remarkable recent progress in identifying regions of the genome that increase risk to diabetes---from three to 16 in only a year---will help us unravel the complex basis diabetes and may suggest new and better tailored methods to prevent or treat this disease.," said U-M's Michael Boehnke, the lead scientist on the Finland-United States Investigation of Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus Genetics (FUSION) study group, one of the three lead groups in the study.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Michigan