Biomedical Laboratory Science

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Down syndrome points to key gene responsible for type 2 diabetes

One of the key genes responsible for the onset of type 2 diabetes has been identified, opening up possibilities to develop a drug to combat the condition.

Key points
  • Onset of type 2 diabetes caused by failure of beta cells in the pancreas
  • Failure of beta cells also often seen in people with Down syndrome, who have an extra copy of chromosome 21
  • Comparison of beta cell genes on chromosome 21 and in people with type 2 diabetes narrows down one common gene called RCAN1
The discovery, published today in PLOS Genetics, was made by comparing genes involved with defects in insulin secretion of people with type 2 diabetes and those with Down syndrome.

Diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia with the preventable type 2 form accounting for 85 per cent of all cases.

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