Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing disease affecting 250 million people worldwide and the number is predicted to double within the next 15 years. T2D is assumed to develop from the interaction between genetic predisposition and an affluent environment.
Diabetes is clearly a much more heterogeneous disease than the simple subdivision into type 1 and type 2 diabetes assumes. Dissection of the genetic heterogeneity of diabetes is a prerequisite for the development of individualized treatment as well as to identify new targets for more efficient therapy. In addition, identification of disease susceptibility genes kicks off possibilities to study gene-environment interactions.
To accomplish this task different strategies are being adopted, including genome wide association studies (GWAS), next-generation sequencing, expression profiling of target tissues (human islets, muscle, fat and liver), as well as studies of epigenetic modifications (DNA and histone methylation, acetylation etc).
A prerequisite for these studies is access to some of the largest and best characterized populations in the field, including the Botnia Study, the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study etc. These studies allow exploration of gene-environment (diet and exercise) interactions as well as prediction of disease development and progression.
More: www.exodiab.se and www.ludc.med.lu.se