Genetic basis of beta-cell dysfunction in man.

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Abstract

Although the genetic causes of monogenic disorders have been successfully identified in the past, the success in dissecting the genetics of complex polygenic diseases has until now been limited. With the introduction of whole genome wide association studies (WGAS) in 2007, the picture has been dramatically changed. Today we know of about 20 genetic variants increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Most of them seem to influence the capacity of beta-cells to increase insulin secretion to meet the demands imposed by an increase in body weight and insulin resistance. This probably represents only the tip of the iceberg, and over the next few years refined tools will provide a more complete picture of the genetic complexity of T2D. This will not only include the current dissection of common variants increasing the susceptibility of the disease but also rare variants with stronger effects, copy number variations and epigenetic effects like DNA methylation and histone acetylation. For the first time, we can anticipate with some confidence that the genetics of a complex disease like T2D really can be dissected.

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  • Endocrinology and Diabetes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Volume11 Suppl 4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes