What genes are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Jul 13, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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The genetics of type 2 diabetes are complex and not completely understood. Evidence supports the involvement of multiple genes in pancreatic beta-cell failure and insulin resistance.

Genome-wide association studies have identified dozens of common genetic variants associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes. [17] Of the variants thus far discovered, the one with the strongest effect on susceptibility is the transcription factor 7–like 2 (TCF7L2) gene. (For more information, see Type 2 Diabetes and TCF7L2.)

Identified genetic variants account for only about 10% of the heritable component of most type 2 diabetes. [17] An international research consortium found that use of a 40-SNP genetic risk score improves the ability to make an approximate 8-year risk prediction for diabetes beyond that which is achievable when only common clinical diabetes risk factors are used. Moreover, the predictive ability is better in younger persons (in whom early preventive strategies could delay diabetes onset) than in those older than 50 years. [55]

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