(HealthDay News) — SLC16A11 A allele is modestly associated with type 2 diabetes in North American Indians, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Diabetes.

Noting that genetic variants in SLC16A11 have been associated with type 2 diabetes in Mexican and other Latin American populations, Michael Traurig, from the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, and colleagues analyzed SLC16A11 in 12,811 North American Indians.

The researchers found that the diabetes risk haplotype, tagged by the rs75493593 A allele, correlated with type 2 diabetes (odds ratio, 1.11; P = 0.001). A strong interaction was seen with body mass index (BMI), such that the correlation with diabetes was stronger in leaner individuals. In individuals with type 2 diabetes, rs75493593 correlated strongly with BMI, but not among those without diabetes. Longitudinal analyses indicated that this was partially due to a correlation of the A allele with greater weight loss associated with diabetes onset.

“Analyses of global gene expression data from adipose, skeletal muscle, and whole blood provide evidence that rs75493593 is associated with expression of the nearby RNASEK gene, suggesting that RNASEK expression may mediate the effect of genotype on diabetes,” the authors write.

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