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Genome-wide search unearths surprising clues for diabetes and triglycerides

Scientists from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Lund University and Novartis today announced the discovery of three unsuspected regions of human DNA that contain clear genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes, and another that is associated with elevated blood triglycerides. The findings stem from the work of the Diabetes Genetics Initiative (DGI), a public-private partnership established in 2004 between Novartis, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Lund University, and also reflect a close partnership with two other diabetes research groups. The three groups studies, appearing together in the April 26 advance online edition of Science, are among the first to apply a suite of genomic resources to clinical research, including the Human Genome Project, the SNP and HapMap Projects, and genome-scale laboratory and analytical tools.

"For the first time, it is possible to look across the human genome and discover new clues about the root causes of common, devastating diseases that arise from a combination of genes, environment and behavior," said senior author David Altshuler, a principal investigator of the Diabetes Genetics Initiative, director of the Broad Institutes Program in Medical and Population Genetics and an associate professor of genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "The confirmed genetic contributors we and our collaborators have found open surprising new avenues for disease research, treatment and prevention."

With the aging of the population and the frequent excesses of modern lifestyles, type 2 diabetes and cardiac risk factors constitute a looming threat to human health, particularly in industrialized nations. Solutions to this burgeoning problem must include new, more effective treatments and the ability to identify "at risk" individuals each of which requires innovative directions for future research.

The DGI study is one of the first large-scale studies of human g
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Contact: Nicole Davis
ndavis@broad.mit.edu
617-258-0952
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
26-Apr-2007


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