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Is type 1 diabetes hereditary?

Researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about how genes and environmental factors interact to determine a person’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Forty percent of everyone in the United States carries one or more of the HLA genes (human leukocyte antigen) which lead to increased risk of type 1 diabetes. To be at increased risk, however, an individual needs two copies of these genes, one from each parent.

One in 400-500 people in the general population develops T1D, but 1 in 20 (5 percent) people are at risk if a parent, sibling, or child has the disease. Research has shown, however, that genes don’t tell the whole story, and suggests that environmental factors (which are not yet fully known) play a role as well.

JDRF is currently funding a study that follows more than 7,000 newborns at increased genetic risk of developing diabetes and will collect vast amounts of data on potential environmental factors over a 15-year period to see which ones are associated with a greater or lesser risk of developing diabetes.

Source: http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=103442 »


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