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Genet Med. 2008 Apr;10(4):240-50. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e31816b8710.

The genetics of gestational diabetes mellitus: evidence for relationship with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Blood Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Gestational diabetes is a major public health problem because of its prevalence, its associated complications during pregnancy, and its increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Insulin resistance is one of many physiological changes occurring during pregnancy, and when insulin resistance is accompanied by pancreatic beta-cell insufficiency, gestational diabetes may develop. Several lines of evidence suggest that gestational diabetes shares a common etiology with type 2 diabetes and support the hypothesis that gestational diabetes serves as a window to reveal a predisposition to type 2 diabetes. Pregnancy is an environmental stressor that may catalyze the progression to a diabetic state in genetically predisposed women; therefore, identification of these women during pregnancy could decrease the occurrence of type 2 diabetes through targeted prevention. This review presents an overview of the genetics of gestational diabetes, focusing on human association studies with candidate genes common to both type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

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