We sought to identify circulating microRNAs as biomarkers of prevalent or incident diabetes. In a pilot study of 18 sex- and age-matched patients with metabolic syndrome, nine of whom developed diabetes during 6 years of follow-up, an array of 372 microRNAs discovered significantly elevated serum levels of microRNAs -122, -192, -194, and -215 in patients who developed diabetes mellitus type 2 (T2DM). In two cross-sectional validation studies, one encompassing sex- and age-matched groups of patients with T2DM, impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and euglycemic controls (n = 43 each) and the other 53 patients with type 1 diabetes and 54 age- and BMI-matched euglycemic controls, serum levels of miR-192, miR-194, and mi215 were significantly higher in diabetic subjects than in probands with euglycemia or IFG. In a longitudinal study of 213 initially diabetes-free patients of whom 35 developed diabetes during 6 years of follow-up, elevated serum levels of microRNAs 192 and 194 were associated with incident T2DM, independently of fasting glucose, HbA1c and other risk factors. Serum levels of miR-192 and miR-194 were also elevated in diabetic Akt2 knockout mice compared to wild type mice. In conclusion, circulating microRNAs -192 and -194 are potential biomarkers for risk of diabetes.