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DNA double helix

CKB has contributed to the largest study of diabetes in diverse populations, which has been published in Nature Genetics. The study led by the DIAMANTE consortium involved over 180,000 people with type 2 diabetes and 1.1 million control individuals, of European, East Asian, African, South Asian, and Hispanic ancestries.

The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes, a life changing disease, has quadrupled over the last 30 years, affecting approximately 392 million people in 2015. This study combined the findings from 122 different studies from around the world using a method called meta-analysis, and identified 117 genes related to diabetes, of which 40 were new discoveries.

Knowledge of these genes will help us to understand the biological pathways which cause diabetes and help scientists to develop new treatments. Importantly, uncovering more of the genetic factors which contribute to diabetes can be used to develop 'genetic risk scores' which can identify individuals at high risk before they develop diabetes, so that interventions and monitoring can be implemented to help prevent disease onset. It is important to include people from different ancestries in these large genetic studies so that these risk scores will be suitable for people from different parts of the world, particularly countries such as China where diabetes is a major public health issue.