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Study Finds Diabetes Gene in Hiding

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<i> Associated Press</i>

Researchers have found the apparent hiding place of a gene that promotes the most common form of diabetes, one that affects 15 million Americans.

Scientists believe several genes play a role in susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, but they haven’t identified any gene yet. The location suggested by the new study is the second to be implicated.

Scientists hope the genes will reveal the biology of diabetes and lead to drugs for treatment and prevention.

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Type 2 diabetes usually develops in people older than 40 and is treated with diet, exercise, oral drugs and sometimes insulin injections.

Nobody knows what fraction of type 2 diabetes might be related to the gene, researcher Eric Lander said in a telephone interview.

Lander, of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., reports the work with colleagues there and elsewhere in the September issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

They studied 217 members of 26 Swedish-speaking families in the Bothnia region on Finland’s west coast. The population in the area has long been relatively isolated, which would make a diabetes gene easier to find.

Each of the families had at least three members with type 2 diabetes, for a total of 120 diabetic participants.

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