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This article is part of the Research Topic

Diabetes in the Middle East

Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Endocrinol. | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00008

A perception on genome-wide genetic analysis of metabolic traits in Arab populations

  • 1Dasman Diabetes Institute, Kuwait
  • 2University of Helsinki, Finland

Despite dedicated nation-wide efforts to raise awareness against the harmful effects of fast-food consumption and sedentary lifestyle, the Arab population continues to struggle with an increased risk for metabolic disorders. Unlike the European population, the Arab population lacks well-established genetic risk determinants for metabolic disorders, and the transferability of established risk loci to this population has not been satisfactorily demonstrated. The most recent findings have identified over 240 genetic risk loci (with ~400 independent association signals) for type 2 diabetes, but thus far only 25 risk loci (ADAMTS9, ALX4, BCL11A, CDKAL1, CDKN2A/B, COL8A1, DUSP9, FTO, GCK, GNPDA2, HMG20A, HNF1A, HNF1B, HNF4A, IGF2BP2, JAZF1, KCNJ11, KCNQ1, MC4R, PPARγ, SLC30A8, TCF7L2, TFAP2B, TP53INP1, and WFS1) have been replicated in Arab populations. To our knowledge, large-scale population- or family-based association studies are non-existent in this region. Recently, we conducted genome-wide association studies on Arab individuals from Kuwait to delineate the genetic determinants for quantitative traits associated with anthropometry, lipid profile, insulin resistance, and blood pressure levels. Although these studies led to the identification of novel recessive variants, they failed to reproduce the established loci. However, they provided insights into the genetic architecture of the population, the applicability of genetic models based on recessive mode of inheritance, the presence of genetic signatures of inbreeding due to the practice of consanguinity, and the pleiotropic effects of rare disorders on complex metabolic disorders. This perspective presents analysis strategies and study designs for identifying genetic risk variants associated with diabetes and related traits in Arab populations.

Keywords: Arab population, type 2 diabetes, genome-wide association studies, T2D risk loci, Kuwait

Received: 05 Nov 2018; Accepted: 09 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Ondřej Šeda, Charles University, Czechia

Reviewed by:

Nirav Dhanesha, The University of Iowa, United States
Zhichao Feng, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Hebbar, Abubaker, Abu-Farha, Tuomilehto, Al-Mulla and Thanaraj. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Thangavel A. Thanaraj, Dasman Diabetes Institute, Kuwait City, Kuwait,