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New gene implicated in type 2 diabetes

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 07 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:854
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    A multidisciplinary team of researchers has uncovered an unexpected gene implicated in raising susceptibility to type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes (Nature Genetics 2000;26:163-75).

    The gene, calpain 10, was found to be strongly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes in Mexican Americans, Pima Indians, and in Northern European groups.

    The study is considered a breakthrough both because it yielded a new marker and possible therapeutic target for this common disease and also because it showed the power of positional cloning to detect genes involved in complex disorders.

    Type 2 diabetes is considered to be a prototypical complex genetic disorder. Inheritance and expression of type 2 diabetes is multifactorial and dependent on multiple genes interacting with each other as well as with environmental, lifestyle, and dietary factors.

    An estimated 135 million people worldwide are affected, including 15 million Americans. Eighteen per cent of the US population over 65 has type 2 diabetes, and the incidence is increasing with higher obesity rates. Additionally, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and contributes to cardiovascular mortality as well.

    Scientists, led by Drs Graeme Bell …

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