Is Diabetes Genetic?

Diabetes Mellitus is a diverse disorder group characterized by persistent hyperglycemia.

Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common forms of diabetes. Both are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental risks.

is diabetes genetic

One inherits the predisposition of disease, then something in the environment triggers it.

Type 1 diabetes is a form of autoimmune disease where the body attacks its pancreatic beta cells.

  • Type 1 diabetes has something to do with external triggers (diet, infection, lifestyle) and inherited risk (genetic).
  • External factors are thought to act as either initiators or accelerators to beta-cell autoimmunity.
  • Research showed that about 20 genome regions increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • The most-well studied is on HLA genes, which encode molecules essential to the immune system.
  • Inheriting specific versions (alleles) of HLA genes increases the immune cells’ chance of attacking the body’s healthy cells.

Type 2 is the most common form of the disease, accounting for approximately 90% of all affected individuals.

  • It is caused by impaired insulin secretion and peripheral insulin resistance.
  • Family studies revealed that first-degree relatives of individuals with type 2 DM are about to develop disease three times more than individuals without a positive family history.
  • It indicates a strong genetic component involved in type 2 DM.
  • Also, if one has a family history of type 2 diabetes, it may be challenging to determine whether he/she developed diabetes due to genetic susceptibility and lifestyle factors. Most likely, it is due to both.
  • Various studies were carried out to find disease susceptibility genes based on the identification of a candidate gene.
  • Candidate genes are selected because they are thought to be involved in pancreatic Beta-cell function, insulin action, or glucose metabolism.

More than 50 candidate genes have been studied so far in various populations. PPARϒ, ABCC8, KCNJ11, and CALPN10 are the most widely studied.

  • Mutation or variation among these are believed to be the genetic link causing disease.
+ References follows strict sourcing guidelines and uses only highly credible sources such as academic research institutions, peer-reviewed journals, and government medical associations. We do not use tertiary references. Read our editorial policy section to know more about how we ensure the accuracy of our content.
  1. World health organization: Genetics and Diabetes
  2. American Diabetes Association: learn the genetics of diabetes
  3. The genetic landscape of diabetes:

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