SYDNEY - An international team of scientists has identified more than 40 genes, including 25 new ones, that could be factors in triggering type-1 diabetes.
Leading the Asia Pacific arm of the research group, Grant Morahan, professor, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR), described this as one of the largest ever genetic studies into type-1 diabetes and among ‘the most significant discoveries’.
‘Where this discovery has much potential is that it could show us how to stop the disease returning by controlling how the risk genes work,’ he said.
‘This study involved screening DNA samples donated by more than 10,000 people with type-1 diabetes from across the world, and more than 11,000 people without the condition - including more than 2,000 families in which two children have type-1 diabetes.
‘What’s really surprising about these findings is not only did we find so many new genes, but we’ve also come across risk factors that are located between genes along the chromosomes, and at least three of these are in what we call ‘gene deserts.’
‘The purpose of gene deserts is still a scientific mystery, so this discovery could give us an insight into the function of these chromosome regions, as well as clues to how type-1 diabetes develops.’
The international study was funded by United State’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), said a WAIMR release.
The research was published in Nature Genetics online on Monday and will feature in the June edition of the journal.