Genetic risk scores help predict type 2 diabetes
The common genetic changes associated with type 2 diabetes have been extensively studied in people of European ancestry. However, it is not known whether all previous findings can be applied to people of south Asian ancestry, who are disproportionately affected yet also underrepresented in genetic studies. The new study used genomic and routine health data from Genes & Health, a large, population study of British Pakistanis and British Bangladeshis, including 7,599 with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found significant genetic differences in type 2 diabetes risk compared to what had been seen in previous studies on European populations. Out of 338 genetic loci identified in European populations, just 76 (22.5%) were transferable to the study population of British Pakistanis and British Bangladeshis. The team then constructed a type 2 diabetes polygenic risk score for the population in the study. When combined with QDiabetes, a routinely-used clinical risk score, the tool improved the prediction of type 2 diabetes (OR per SD of 1.57, 95% CI 1.50-1.65). The tool was particularly effective in assessing risk in British Pakistani and British Bangladeshi people under the age of 40 (net reclassification index 5.6%, 95% CI 3.6 -- 7.6%), and also in predicting the development of type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. Finally, the polygenic risk score was able to elucidate disease subgroups which are linked to differences in the risk of future diabetes complications.