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Researchers identify genetic risk factors associated with diabetes

Category: Diabetes

A simple blood test may be able to predict an individual's future risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

Researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem found that the manner in which certain genes are expressed determine a person's susceptibility to the metabolic disorder. Moreover, it may be possible to test a person's blood for these genetic factors. This may enable doctors to diagnose the condition at an earlier stage, when it is more treatable.

The findings are significant because most of the research into how genetics affect diabetes risk has focused on searching for variations that increase risk. However, the present study revealed that the manner in which genes are expressed, rather than the composition of specific snippets of DNA, is most important. 

The researchers said their findings could play an important role in the development of new blood tests for diabetes risk as well as preventative strategies. The epigenetic variations identified as diabetes risk factors in the study may be prevented by reducing intrauterine exposure to certain chemicals.

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