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Curr Diab Rep. 2012 Dec;12(6):686-96. doi: 10.1007/s11892-012-0326-z.

Genetics of type 2 diabetes in East Asian populations.

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Department of Biomedical Science, Hallym University, Gangwon-do, Chuncheon, 200-702, Republic of Korea.


Because type 2 diabetes (T2D) is highly familial, there has been a concentrated effort to uncover the genetic basis of T2D worldwide over the last decade. In East Asians, T2D is experiencing a rapidly rising prevalence that is characterized by a relatively lower body mass index, as compared with that in Europeans. To date, at least 15 convincing T2D loci have been identified from large-scale genome-wide association studies and meta-analyses in East Asians. Many of these are likely responsible for pancreatic β cell function, as indicated in studies from Europeans. Many T2D loci have been replicated across the ethnic groups. There are, however, substantial interethnic differences in frequency and effect size of these risk alleles. Despite accumulating genetic information on T2D, there are still limitations in our ability to explain the rapidly rising prevalence and lean phenotype of disease observed in East Asians, suggesting that more extensive work using diverse research strategies is needed in the future.

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