Progress in Defining the Genetic Contribution to Type 2 Diabetes in Individuals of East Asian Ancestry

Curr Diab Rep. 2021 Apr 13;21(6):17. doi: 10.1007/s11892-021-01388-2.


Purpose of review: Prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and progression of complications differ between worldwide populations. While obesity is a major contributing risk factor, variations in physiological manifestations, e.g., developing T2D at lower body mass index in some populations, suggest other contributing factors. Early T2D genetic associations were mostly discovered in European ancestry populations. This review describes the progression of genetic discoveries associated with T2D in individuals of East Asian ancestry in the last 10 years and highlights the shared genetic susceptibility between the population groups and additional insights into genetic contributions to T2D.

Recent findings: Through increased sample size and power, new genetic associations with T2D were discovered in East Asian ancestry populations, often with higher allele frequencies than European ancestry populations. As we continue to generate maps of T2D-associated variants across diverse populations, there will be a critical need to expand and diversify other omics resources to enable integration for clinical translation.

Keywords: East Asian populations; Genome-wide association study (GWAS); Meta-analysis; Susceptibility loci; Type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics