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New genes linked to Type 2 diabetes identified

A new understanding and possible treatment for Type 2 diabetes could be on its way after one of the largest genetic studies to date discovered nine new genes linked to the condition.

The genes and blood glucose levels of over 120,000 volunteers were studied by scientists from 174 research centres across the world. A set of genes that control the body’s response to glucose in the blood was identified.

"An incredibly important finding"

“This is an incredibly important finding," said Jim Wilson, a geneticist from Edinburgh University involved in the study.

"The discovery of these new genes influencing blood sugar levels is the first step on the important journey to developing new therapies for diabetes."

A drug to prevent Type 2 diabetes?

“It opens up a whole new area of research to find which proteins are ‘druggable’. Genetics is like a can-opener: it allows us to get inside and understand what’s going on.”

The study’s scientists hope that in five to 10 years they will be able to identify which people have a genetic susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes, and to have a drug available that can prevent the condition developing.

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