CTV.ca Genes associated with Type 2 diabetes found
Updated Mon. Feb. 12 2007 11:14 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A study from researchers at McGill University Health Centre has identified four genes that contribute to Type 2 diabetes -- a discovery that could be a major breakthrough in the fight against the disease.
The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, examined the human genome in hopes of identifying genes that contribute to the development of diabetes.
A team led by endocrinologist Rob Sladek compared DNA samples from diabetes patients with samples from those without the disease. They found that the patients who developed diabetes all had genetic variants of chromosomes 8, 10 and 11.
"Of the four genes we have identified, two are involved in the development or function of insulin-secreting cells and one plays a role in the transport of zinc, an important mineral required for the production of insulin," says Sladek.
Sladek said the findings will help identify people who risk developing Type 2 diabetes, since the gene variations might account for 70 per cent of the genetic risk associated with the disease.
The researchers are now looking for other genes associated with increased susceptibility to the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes among adults. About 1.3 million Canadians have the disease, also known as adult-onset diabetes, and that number is expected to reach 3 million by 2010.
Its onset has been linked to obesity and poor diet and high blood pressure.
The researchers scanned DNA from almost 7,000 people. Dr. Constantin Polychronakos at the MUHC says his team used a new technology that allowed them to scan the genes in a matter of months.
With previous methods, it would have taken 20 years to do DNA tests on 7,000 subjects.
Polychronakos says the study shows the power of the new scanning techniques to find genes associated with disease.
"Our findings are proof of principle that these approaches can be used to dissect the genetic component of other complex diseases and, eventually, other complex human traits," he said.
Until the new discovery is implemented in medicine, you can increase your intake of Zinc.
You can eat more beef, Crab meat, Oyster, Turkey, Chicken, Salmon, Spinach, Yogurt, Beans with Whole Wheat Bread or Rye bread , as they they are the richest food of Zinc.
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