New Genetic Markers for Type 1 Diabetes Discovered as Reported by DiabeticLive.com

New Genetic Markers for Type 1 Diabetes Discovered as Reported by DiabeticLive.com

Researchers conducting a meta-analysis of a large pool of genetic information relating to Type 1 diabetes have discovered new genes believed to be related to the disease, adding to the knowledge of the complex genetic interactions which cause diabetes as reported by DiabeticLive.com.

Tampa, FL (PRWEB) October 04, 2011

New Genetic Markers for Type 1 Diabetes Discovered: Researchers conducting a meta-analysis of a large pool of genetic information relating to Type 1 diabetes have discovered new genes believed to be related to the disease, adding to the knowledge of the complex genetic interactions which cause diabetes. The findings of the analysis were published in the journal "Public Library of Science Genetics."

Type 1 diabetes 200 million people worldwide. Individuals with the disease must receive frequent injections of insulin due to the body's inability to produce sufficient levels of the hormone.

"Genome-wide association studies, as we used here, have been extremely powerful in identifying gene locations involved in the pathogenesis of complex, common diseases," says Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director at the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and head of the study. According to Dr. Hakonarson, the large study size allowed a comprehensive look at the genetic information associated with Type 1 diabetes. "The larger the cohort used, the more discoveries we can make, and the more we find intriguing biological pathways offering insight into causes of disease."

The investigation was a genome-wide association study (GWAS) which used ix large databases of genetic information from patients who had Type 1 diabetes. Researchers had access to information from about 10,000 individuals with Type 1 diabetes as well as 17,000 control subjects without the disease. The databases included information regarding single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs - small variations in genetic code that function as markers for larger genetic processes such as mutations that can cause diseases.

While SNPs are not actually responsible for causing diseases, they may exist in areas of our genetic code which do cause mutations. They can therefore function as a signpost to researchers. The SNPs discovered in the meta-analysis were located in regions related to protein-protein interactions, inflammation, and cell signaling activity, which are important to researchers as they can be associated with disease.

"Our study found SNPs that we had not expected to have any connection to type 1 diabetes," says Hakonarson. "The strongest association among the three SNPs was in the region of the LMO7 gene on chromosome 13. We previously associated another member of the LMO gene family with the childhood cancer neuroblastoma. This gene family plays an important role in protein-protein interactions, but it would not have occurred to anyone that it may be active in type 1 diabetes. GWAS continues to turn up surprising biological associations."

Hakonarson's team will be conducting studies in the future to sequence the regions of the genetic code signified by the SNPs - the regions that appear to be related to mutations. A complete sequence would allow scientists to gain a clearer picture of the genetic processes that cause Type 1 diabetes.

 

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