The Genetic Basis of Type 2 Diabetes in Hispanics and Latin Americans: Challenges and Opportunities
Mercader, Josep M.
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CitationMercader, Josep M., and Jose C. Florez. 2017. “The Genetic Basis of Type 2 Diabetes in Hispanics and Latin Americans: Challenges and Opportunities.” Frontiers in Public Health 5 (1): 329. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2017.00329. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00329.
AbstractType 2 diabetes (T2D) affects 415 million people worldwide, and has a much higher prevalence in Hispanics (16.9%), compared to non-Hispanic whites (10.2%). Genome-wide association studies and whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing studies have discovered more than 100 genetic regions associated with modified risk for T2D. However, the identified genetic factors explain a very small fraction of the estimated heritability. Until recently, little attention has been put in studying other non European populations that suffer from a higher burden of T2D, such as Hispanics/Latinos. In the past few years, genetic studies in Hispanic populations have started to provide new insights into the genetic architecture of T2D in this ancestry group. Of note, several genetic variants that are absent or very rare in non-Hispanic populations but more common in Hispanics have shown from moderate to strong association with T2D and have provided new insights into the biology of T2D, which may be ultimately useful for developing novel therapeutic strategies applicable to all populations. Studying diverse populations can also improve the ability to find the causal variants in known T2D loci by a multi-ancestry fine-mapping approach, which leverages the different patterns of linkage disequilibrium between the causal and the ascertained genetic variants. In this mini-review, we summarize the main genetic findings discovered in Hispanics and discuss the limitations and challenges of performing genetic studies in these populations. Finally, we present possible next steps to make studies in Latino populations more valuable in providing a deeper understanding of T2D and anticipate their future application to the development of predictive and preventive medicine and personalized therapies.
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