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New genes linked to diabetes discovered.

Summary: A dozen new genes linked to the most common form of diabetes have been identified by scientists,

A dozen new genes linked to the most common form of diabetes have been identified by scientists.

The discoveries shed light on the biological causes of Type 2 diabetes, which affects almost two million people in the UK, and brings the known total of genes thought to influence the disease to 38.

Type 2 diabetes alters levels of insulin and the body's response to the vital blood sugar-regulating hormone. Although it is known to be linked to lifestyle, diet and obesity, the processes underpinning its development are still unclear.

The newly identified genes are involved in the function of insulin-producing pancreatic cells, the control of insulin's action in the body, and the regulation of cell growth and division.

Study leader Professor Mark McCarthy, from Oxford University said: "One important theme is that several of the genes seem to be important in controlling the number of pancreatic beta-cells that an individual has. This helps settle a long-standing controversy about the role of beta-cell numbers in Type 2 diabetes risk, and points to the importance of developing therapies that are able to preserve or restore depleted numbers of beta-cells."

The study is the largest investigation of the impact of genes on diabetes risk yet carried out.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Jun 28, 2010
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