Scientists have discovered a variant gene that leads to a sizable extra risk of Type 2 diabetes and is carried by more than a third of the American population.The paper is "Mutations in the CEL VNTR cause a syndrome of diabetes and pancreatic exocrine dysfunction."
The finding is being reported today in the journal Nature Genetics by researchers at Decode Genetics, a company in Reykjavik, Iceland, that specializes in finding the genetic roots of human diseases. Decode Genetics first found the variant gene - one of many different versions that exist in the human population - in Icelanders and has now confirmed the finding in a Danish and an American population.
An immediate practical consequence of the discovery, said Decode's chief executive, Kari Stefansson, would be to develop a diagnostic test to identify people who carry the variant gene. If people knew of their extra risk, they would have an incentive to stay thin and exercise, he said.
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