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Diabetes Gene Mutation Common in Latinos Has Ancient Roots

An article in NPR’s Shots blog reports that “Harvard geneticist David Altshuler and his colleagues uncovered hints that humans picked up the diabetes mutations from Neanderthals, our ancient cousins who went extinct about 30,000 years ago.”  Latinos have a high rate of Type 2 diabetes, and researchers analyzed the DNA of 8,000 people from Latin American and Mexico. “These people had a mix of European and Native American ancestry.” Researchers found many genes involved in diabetes, and a new gene that’s likely involved in fat metabolism came up in the analysis. They found that “Mutations in this gene increase a person’s risk of getting Type 2 diabetes by about a 20 percent.”

Read it in NPR’s Shots blog.