Researchers also found that the same gene is involved in type 2 diabetes in humans.
A new study identified a pathological process that takes place in both mice and humans and causes one of the most common diseases that people face in the industrialised world: type 2 diabetes.
Researchers carried out a detailed study of the genome (the genetic make-up of an organism) and the phenome (the set of all observable phenotypes, or clinical traits) of a family of 183 mice.
"By comparing the metabolism of twins subjected to different life conditions and different diets, it is possible to exactly assess the influence of the environment on the expression of certain genes and the way this affects clinical features and the risk for developing diseases," said Johan Auwerx from The Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
Researchers added a new analytical layer obtained through new spectrometry technology, making it possible to quantify the presence of hundreds of proteins from a single sample and establish what experts call each individual's proteome, or set of expressed proteins.
By combining each mouse's genome, phenome, proteome and metabolome (the set of other chemicals found in a lab sample), the scientists were able to identify a particular gene located on chromosome 2 of the mice whose presence plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
"The mice with a diet high in fat are more or less likely to develop diabetes depending on whether this gene is active or not," said Evan Williams, co-first author, from the Laboratory of Integrative Systems Physiology (LISP) at EPFL.
"By combining our various layers of information, we were able to establish exactly the process that leads from the presence of this gene to an increased risk of diabetes," said Williams.
The research was published in the journal Cell.

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