Scientists say they have discovered a variant gene that increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The TCF7L2 gene is carried by more than one-third of the U.S. population, the New York Times reported.
The finding was reported in the journal Nature Genetics by researchers at Decode Genetics, which specializes in finding the genetic roots of human diseases by studying the Icelandic population.
Decode Genetics first found the genetic variant in Icelanders and has now confirmed the finding in a Danish and an American population, the newspaper said.
Decode chief executive Kari Stefansson says identifying people who carry the variant gene will give those people an added incentive to exercise and eat properly.
Researchers say the 38 percent of Americans who have inherited one copy of the variant gene have a 45 percent greater risk of Type 2 than do unaffected members of the population -- and the 7 percent who carry two copies are 141 percent more likely to develop the disease, the newspaper said.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Death by Design? Spatial models show that natural selection favors genetically-limited lifespan as a lineal benefit