Jurilab Ltd has announced that it will disclose at the HGM2006 human genetics conference in Helsinki its large multinational genetic discovery program in type 2 diabetes, based on two independent founder populations: the Eastern Finns and the Ashkenazi Jews.
Traditional genetic studies based on genome wide scans (GWS) using microsatellite markers with linkage analyses have not been successful in finding genes causing type 2 diabetes.
Several years ago, Jurilab examined alternative study designs and apply the extreme-contrast case-control LD-mapping design to human genetic studies in type 2 diabetes.
The East Finland population (founded 15 to 20 generations ago) is one of the genetically most homogeneous large population isolates characterized. Because of the limited number of founders, there is less diversity in mutations causing type 2 diabetes, which makes them easier to identify.
Ashkenazi Jews are another genetically homogenous founder population, which is, with no genetic overlap with the Eastern Finns. Thus the two population groups optimally complement each other.
Jurilab is using over 300,000 targeted SNP markers for GWS in over 1000 subjects. Case-control sets used are from Ashkenazi Jews, Catalonia, East Finland, England and Germany.
Fine mapping and replication studies are carried out in thousands of subjects from a larger number of more heterogeneous populations from 14 different countries across all continents. Computerized pathway analysis is used to construct etiologic pathways in T2D.
"We have already discovered hundreds of novel genes and several entirely new pathways linked to type 2 diabetes," said Professor Jukka T. Salonen, Jurilab's chief scientific officer.
"Our genetic discovery platform appears to be producing much better results compared with the conventional family-based approaches originally developed to study single-gene diseases and applied to diabetes with little success."
"Jurilab plans to commercialize the findings rapidly with our partners starting with the first type 2 diabetes risk assessment test and followed by other exciting products in diagnostics and drug development," said Kari Paukkeri, CEO of the company.