Key genetic players in diabetes identified

September 17, 2010, Imperial College London
Key genetic players in diabetes identified
Scientists have discovered a network of genes for type 1 diabetes and identified a key player that controls the network.

Scientists have discovered a network of genes for type 1 diabetes (T1D) and identified a key player that controls the network. This development will help researchers focus their efforts to improve drug treatments for type 1 diabetes and could have an impact on other diseases where inflammation plays an important role.

In recent years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a number of individual genes that increase a person’s chance of developing diabetes. However this is the first time that researchers have been able to identify an entire network of genes, single out the key players that control the network and determine a person’s chance of developing T1D.

Dr. Stuart Cook, from the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, who led the study, said:

"If we think about our genes as being similar to a football team - it is one thing to know that the team you’re playing against has 11 players, but another to know who their main match winners are. What we find exciting about these results is that, for the first time, we have been able to identify the most important genes - who the strikers are, as well as who the team captain might be that coordinates the other players. Applying this knowledge to find out more about the key players that cause disease will help researchers find better ways to develop more targeted treatments in the fight against diabetes."

By using a variety of techniques to analyse human and rat , the researchers found that the "" that are active in our immune systems could have an important role in T1D.

makes up around 10 per cent of the total number of people who have . A child in the UK has around a one in a thousand chance of developing the disease.

More information: The study, published in Nature, was funded by the Medical Research Council, with additional support from Imperial College London, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Peers' genes may help friends stay in school, new study finds

January 18, 2018
While there's scientific evidence to suggest that your genes have something to do with how far you'll go in school, new research by a team from Stanford and elsewhere says the DNA of your classmates also plays a role.

Two new breast cancer genes emerge from Lynch syndrome gene study

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian have identified two new breast cancer genes. Having one of the genes—MSH6 and PMS2—approximately doubles a woman's risk of developing breast ...

A centuries-old math equation used to solve a modern-day genetics challenge

January 18, 2018
Researchers developed a new mathematical tool to validate and improve methods used by medical professionals to interpret results from clinical genetic tests. The work was published this month in Genetics in Medicine.

Can mice really mirror humans when it comes to cancer?

January 18, 2018
A new Michigan State University study is helping to answer a pressing question among scientists of just how close mice are to people when it comes to researching cancer.

Group recreates DNA of man who died in 1827 despite having no body to work with

January 16, 2018
An international team of researchers led by a group with deCODE Genetics, a biopharmaceutical company in Iceland, has partly recreated the DNA of a man who died in 1827, despite having no body to take tissue samples from. ...

Epigenetics study helps focus search for autism risk factors

January 16, 2018
Scientists have long tried to pin down the causes of autism spectrum disorder. Recent studies have expanded the search for genetic links from identifying genes toward epigenetics, the study of factors that control gene expression ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.