Emirati researcher identifies Type 2 diabetes gene

An Emirati research scholar has identified a gene strongly associated with the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among the Emirati population.

Dr Habiba Saeed Al Safar, while conducting a study as part of her doctorate in medical sciences, discovered that the PRKD1 gene is the cause for the prevalence of the disease in the UAE.

The study was one of the first attempts to analyse the human genome and determine which specific gene leads to the high prevalence of the metabolic disorder among the local population,a newspaper  reported.

"It is known that the UAE has the second highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the world, and incidence among the Emirati population is higher than among expatriates in the country. So there is a real need to find out if there is any genetic reason behind the extremely high incidence among Emiratis", Dr Habiba was quoted as saying.

Dr Habiba's study, completed as part of her research at the University of Western Australia, was funded by the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and work on it began in 2008.

"We also discovered five genes, including PRKD1, which had not previously been analysed but which were strongly associated with diabetes risk among Emiratis," she said: "The genes are not, however, the only cause for diabetes incidence among the Emirati population".

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