Gene linked to Type 2 diabetes

Scientists say they have found a variant of a gene to explain why Latin Americans are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

The variant lies on a gene called SLC16A11, which plays a part in breaking down fatty molecules called lipids, they say in the journal Nature.

A research consortium called SIGMA - for the Slim Initiative for Genomic Medicine for the Americas - sought to understand why type 2 diabetes in Mexicans and other Latin American populations is roughly twice that of non-Hispanic whites in the US. 

They compared the DNA of 8214 Mexicans and other Latin Americans, who were divided into diabetics and non-diabetics.

Those with the SLC16A11 variant were about 20 per cent likelier to develop the disease than counterparts without this signature, they found.

Prevalence of the variant was especially high among people of full Native American ancestry, about 50 per cent of whom had it. Among Latin Americans generally, it was 30 to 40 per cent.

A comparison with other ethnic groups found the variant in about 11 per cent of East Asians, but rare among Europeans (2 per cent) and absent in Africans. AFP

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