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A mutation of a single gene may be responsible for an increased risk of positive HbA1c tests for type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Medical professionals have suspected that genetic causes may underlie many cases of the disease, since diabetes tends to cluster in families. However, there was little evidence to suggest that this is caused by specific genes or if families simply share unhealthy environments that increase their risk.
After studying the medical records and DNA samples from nearly 19,000 people from throughout Europe and across the U.S., researchers from the University of Catanzaro in Italy found that individuals with type 2 diabetes are 16 times more likely to have a mutation of the HMGA1 gene.
In examining the DNA of the participants, no other gene appeared to be as strongly associated with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers said that their findings could lead to the development of improved treatments that target this dysfunctional gene. Additionally, the presence of the mutation could serve as an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes susceptibility.
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