Recent ground-breaking genetic research has discovered the reasons behind the high incidence of type 2 diabetes in Greenland. This information comes from a study based on blood samples retrieved from 5,000 people, which is roughly 10 percent of the population of Greenland which may prove scientists have broken the diabetic genetic code.
Associate Professor Anders Albrechtsen notes, “Several epidemiological studies have looked at the health implications of the transition from life as sealers and hunters in small isolated communities to a modern lifestyle with appreciable dietary changes. Perhaps the gene variant which has been identified can be interpreted as a sign of natural selection as the traditional Greenlandic diet consisted primarily of protein and fat from sea animals.”
Throughout recent history, many studies have been employed that suggest health implications in the transition between sealers and hunters, in the small isolated communities of Greenland to a more modernized lifestyle that implements dietary changes as well.
Professor Torben Hansen from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen who handles the research in the link between our genetic make-up and the expansion of diabetes and obesity, while also viewing treatment options, explains, “We have found a gene variant in the population of Greenland which markedly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The gene variant is only found in Greenlanders and explains 15% of cases of diabetes in the country.”
The study process became quite a challenge as researchers began collecting samples from 10 percent of the population. Due to the cooperative natives of Greenland, it became a successful venture. Due to the challenges of participants being both European and Inuit ancestry and being related as well, the task become even harder.
As the years pass, the study’s results will continue to be analyzed for further information on how this break in the genetic code of type 2 diabetes can be used to help find a possible cure for diabetes while also testing possible theories that could break the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues as well.