The Genetic Contribution to Type 1 Diabetes

Curr Diab Rep. 2019 Nov 4;19(11):116. doi: 10.1007/s11892-019-1235-1.


Purpose of review: To provide an updated summary of discoveries made to date resulting from genome-wide association study (GWAS) and sequencing studies, and to discuss the latest loci added to the growing repertoire of genetic signals predisposing to type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Recent findings: Genetic studies have identified over 60 loci associated with T1D susceptibility. GWAS alone does not specifically inform on underlying mechanisms, but in combination with other sequencing and omics-data, advances are being made in our understanding of T1D genetic etiology and pathogenesis. Current knowledge indicates that genetic variation operating in both pancreatic β cells and in immune cells is central in mediating T1D risk. One of the main challenges is to determine how these recently discovered GWAS-implicated variants affect the expression and function of gene products. Once we understand the mechanism of action for disease-causing variants, we will be well placed to apply targeted genomic approaches to impede the premature activation of the immune system in an effort to ultimately prevent the onset of T1D.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; C-type lectin-like domain family 16A (CLEC16A) gene; Genome-wide association study (GWAS); Susceptibility loci; Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prospective Studies