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Identification of epigenetic markers underlying increased risk of T2D in South Asians

Coordinator: John CHAMBERS
Project Number: 279143
EC contribution: 2,999,052.00
Project website:

This project focuses on identification of epigenetic risk factors underlying the increased rates of type-2 diabetes (T2D) amongst South Asians in their home countries, migrants to Europe and other parts of the world. Known environmental and genetic factors explain only a small part of the increased risk of T2D among South Asians, who constitute the highest numbers of people with T2D worldwide.

We hypothesise that epigenetic modification contributes to the increased T2D risk amongst South Asians. We will carry out an epigenome-wide scan of DNA methylation in whole blood, among T2D cases and controls from non-migrant (living in India or Pakistan) and migrant (living in the UK) South Asians. Further testing of top-ranking markers will be carried out in South Asian T2D cases and controls from UK, India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka. We will use results to investigate the mechanisms underlying the epigenetic modifications identified, to develop a predictive panel of lifestyle, environmental, genetic and epigenetic markers increasing susceptibility to incident T2D in South Asians, and to quantify the contribution of these risk factors to T2D amongst South Asians in diverse regional settings.

This research will improve understanding of epigenetic mechanisms underlying T2D, and may enable development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of T2D amongst South Asians worldwide.

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