Evaluation of polymorphisms known to contribute to risk for diabetes in African and African-American populations

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 Jul;10(4):415-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3281e2c99a.


Purpose of review: Populations of direct African ancestry have much greater genetic diversity than do other populations. African-American populations exhibit twice the prevalence of type 2 diabetes as compared with their Caucasian counterparts. African-American populations are likely to have unique genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. This review addresses current knowledge of susceptibility genes that are shared with other groups and those that are unique to populations of African descent.

Recent findings: When compared with the plethora of Caucasian studies, relatively few studies have been conducted in African or African-American populations. The most exciting findings have been family-based linkage studies, which point to multiple regions that may harbor susceptibility genes. Recent work suggests that the major Caucasian locus, TCF7L2, plays a role in some African-based populations, whereas unique factors remain to be confirmed.

Summary: Although progress has been made in finding the genetic cause of type 2 diabetes in African and African-American populations, at this time no variant can be considered unequivocally confirmed as a diabetes susceptibility locus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics*
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors