This study will use newly released UK Biobank data to investigate the role that genetic makeup could play in the promotion or resistance of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a significant health burden worldwide; in the UK it costs the NHS £296 per second and roughly 50% of diabetic patients die prematurely of stroke and heart disease. Research is underway to determine how this burden can be reduced but it is a complex disease, with many factors contributing to its development.
The UK Biobank has comprehensive and newly released data on a range of health and environmental factors – for over half a million people. The size of this dataset provides a unique opportunity to investigate individuals at the extremes of normal distributions. This study will specifically probe the differences in the genetic makeup of individuals we have identified as being at high risk of type 2 diabetes but have not developed the condition, and those who are at low risk of disease yet have developed the condition.
We will use statistical analysis (multivariable regression analysis) to investigate a number of factors within the Biobank data that are classically associated with type 2 diabetes:
Anthropometric variables such as weight and body mass index
By taking the residuals from the regression analysis we will define the 1% of non-diabetic individuals at most risk of type 2 diabetes and the 1% of type 2 diabetes individuals at least risk of the condition. We will then genotype these individuals for genetic variants which are known to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
We anticipate that lean individuals who have developed the condition will have more known type 2 diabetes risk variants compared to individuals classically considered at risk of the condition but who have not developed it.
This work is in collaboration with Professor Tim Frayling and Dr Michael Wheedon of the Complex Traits Genetics group at the Peninsula Medical School, and will significantly further our understanding of the complex causes of type 2 diabetes.