Findings will help other researchers predict with increased accuracy who is likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, and select appropriate protocols to prevent it.
“It is a game-changer for Type 1 diabetes,” said Patrick Concannon, director, Genetics Institute, University of Florida.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when a body has insufficient insulin-producing cells as a result of immune system killing such cells in the pancreas. Even though experts do not know what causes the disease, it is assumed that genetics and environmental factors have a role in this condition.
To conduct the study, researchers collected information about the genetic makeup of 27,000 people, both with Type 1 diabetes and without the condition.
The goal of the study was to identify individual differences in DNA responsible for the increased risk of Type 1 diabetes.
From an initial 200,000 possible locations in the genome, scientists used the fine mapping technique to identify DNA sequence variations that could lead to diabetes.
“That will make diabetes researchers’ work more effective and efficient by giving them the most detailed directions yet about where to look for the genetic variations that cause Type 1 diabetes and perhaps other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis,” Concannon said.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Genetics.