Question: What is the current state of research for genetic testing for diabetes?
Answer: So in recent years there's been great progress understanding genes that underlie both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. And perhaps as many as ten different genes have been found that influence risk of type 1 and a different set of ten genes that influence risk of type 2. These genes, however, each have a very modest effect on risk and even put together only explain a fraction of the story. There is much more to be learned than we yet know.
So why is this important? Well in my view, it's not actually genetic testing. These are not, at present at least, useful clinical tests, because you can have the gene and not get sick or you can get sick without having the gene. And no one has yet proven that knowing this information, in terms of clinical testing, is valuable to the patient.
So why do we care? We care because each gene that's found that influences the disease give us new insights into what causes diabetes in the first place. And in the effort to treat and prevent diabetes -- that information, that this particular part of the body is involved in the root causes of why people get sick in the first place, is critically important if we want to reverse those root causes and prevent and treat the disease more effectively.