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Attie Lab - Scientists find gene in obese mice that increases type 2 diabetes
In a painstaking set of experiments in overweight mice, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a gene that appears to play an important role in the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The finding is important because it provides evidence that the same gene in humans could provide clinicians with a powerful tool to determine the likelihood that some individuals will acquire the condition. Moreover, the finding that the gene works through a pathway not generally studied in the context of diabetes, suggests new avenues to explore in the search for new drugs to treat or prevent the disease, says Alan Attie, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry and the senior author of the study published this week (May 8) in the journal Nature Genetics.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition in the United States, with an estimated 16 million Americans afflicted with the disease. It is caused by an inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin, or by the body's reduced ability to respond to insulin, or both. Insulin is necessary for the body to properly utilize sugar.

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