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Taiwan finds predictive factor for diabetes among locals

Taiwan finds predictive factor for diabetes among locals

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top academic research institution, has detected the sites of genes that predict susceptibility to type II diabetes with greater reliability than external risk factors such as smoking and obesity. The specific physical locations of genes or other DNA sequences on a chromosome, known as the loci, are like genetic street addresses. A total of 41 gene loci were uncovered in a whole genome screening project conducted by Taiwan Biobank to find factors that cause diabetes, one of the top 10 killers in Taiwan, said Shen Chen-yang (???), a research fellow at Academia Sinica's Institute of Biomedical Sciences and chief executive of Taiwan Biobank, on Friday. The more nucleotide variations in the gene loci, the higher the risk of contracting diabetes, Shen said in presenting the results of the study Taiwan Biobank has conducted since its establishment in 2012. The gene loci were detected by analyzing and comparing the extensive genetic data of Taiwanese citizens collected by Taiwan Biobank to date, Shen said. The researchers involved in the diabetes project found that the gene loci predict whether people will be affected by diabetes with 88 percent accuracy, far higher than external risk factors that include gender, smoking, drinking and obesity. The predictive model identified by the team could one day help individual Taiwanese to know if they are among those at high risk for contracting diabetes, facilitate efforts to reduce treatment costs, and assist the government in charting effective health care policies, Shen said. Shen explained that even if people have the gene loci associated with developing diabetes, they can lower their chance of falling victim to the disease if they maintain a lifestyle free of the external risk factors. Taiwan Biobank is a national-scale project run by Academia Sinica with the goal of establishing a large population-based database, in which genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that are associated with disease are included. The project aims to gather genetic data on over 200,000 Taiwanese people within 10 years. The data collected is being used as a resource to study the correlation between genes and disease, find causes and treatments for chronic diseases prevalent in Taiwan, and advance the study of personalized medicine, the Academia Sinica said. Since its launch three years ago, Taiwan Biobank has gathered information from over 53,000 people. This year, it has reached its intermediate goal of whole-genome sequencing of 1,000 people and whole-genome typing of 12,000 people, Shen said. "In the gene research in the future, Taiwan will have its own data bank," he said. (By Hsu Chi-wei and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-20 07:35 GMT+08:00