New findings may explain up to 70 per cent of the genetic background of Type 2 diabetes, say scientists from Imperial College London.
The researchers, working with Canadian colleagues, identified four loci - or points on individuals' genetic maps - which correspond to a risk of developing the condition. They believe this could help with the development of a genetic test.
Also, one of the genetic mutations they found could further explain the causes of Type 2 diabetes, potentially leading to new treatments in the future. The mutation was in a zinc transporter, known as SLC30A8, which is involved in regulating insulin secretion. It may be possible to fix this transporter as a way of treating some people with diabetes, say the researchers.
"We have known for some time that family history plays a part in whether or not someone might develop Type 2 diabetes, " said Dr Iain Frame, Research Manager at Diabetes UK.
"While it is still early days, the results of this research look promising as they could potentially help the early identification of people with a genetic risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In the longer term they could perhaps lead to better treatments for people with the condition."