Largest Type 2 Diabetes Study Finds Differences in Ethnic Groups

Genetic differences in ethnic groups are involved in increased risk of diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes. It’s a disorder that causes the body to produce insufficient insulin, or to become inefficient at producing the insulin, required to metabolize the sugar present in the blood after eating. The disorder is more common with age; however, it has risen among the younger population.

A large group of researchers released a study that identifies genetic variants among ethnic groups.

In the study, the scientists performed an analysis of 39 already existing studies based on ethnic populations. The study comprised more than 17,000 cases of patients with type 2 diabetes and 70,000 diabetes-free control patients. A large-scale genetic screening was carried out to examine 50,000 gene variants of 2,100 genes known to be associated with metabolic and cardiovascular functions.

The results allowed the researchers to identify four type 2 diabetes-related genes that were previously unknown, verify sixteen type 2 diabetes-linked variants, and discover six new genetic signals in type 2 diabetes-related genes.

Finally, it was found that type 2 diabetes was associated with higher risk in Hispanic, Asian, and African-American populations. This last finding is very peculiar and it is worth looking further on why these ethnic groups have a higher risk of developing diabetes.



ScienceDaily. Largest-ever gene study of type 2 diabetes finds variants across many ethnic groups. Accessed Feb 28, 2017.

Saxena, Richa, et al. “Large-scale gene-centric meta-analysis across 39 studies identifies type 2 diabetes loci.” The American Journal of Human Genetics 90.3 (2012): 410-425.