Friday, October 18, 2019

Association Between Diabetes and ZRANB3 Gene

The journal Nature Communications published the largest genomic study of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in sub-Saharan Africans, in which they analyzed nearly 18 million autosomal SNPs in 5,231 individuals from Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya (Nature, 2019). Researchers found that there was a connection between diabetes and genome-wide significant locus: ZRANB3 gene. They confirmed the ZRANB3 gene, might influence weakness to the T2D in sub-Saharan African populations. They studied its effects on the zebrafish pancreas; "the pancreas is one of the key organs involved in T2D because their β-cells release insulin as a response to rising glucose in the bloodstream" (NIH, 2019).

CRISPR, a gene-editing tool was used to make the ZRANB3 gene nonfunctional in zebrafish. This is called a 'knockout'. They also reduced the expression of the ZRANB3 gene in a different sample of zebrafish. Researchers observed β-cells were reduced numbers in the developing zebrafish embryo (Nature, 2019). They concluded that when the ZRANB3 gene was inactive, pancreatic β-cells were being destroyed. They conducted a similar experiment using mice and found similar results. They proposed an excellent question on this finding: will it help to predict whether the presence of ZRANB3 in an individual with T2D require insulin early in the course of its treatment? This is significant because it could save the destruction of β-cells over time.  They also believed since ZRANB3 in T2D was discovered in African populations, the same gene might have same influence in other populations. I think this experiment was executed brilliantly considering they analyzed so much data before concluding. I think it is amazing that they want to continue the research with different pollutions and hope to find a similar association between T2D and ZRANB3 gene. 

NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute. (2019, July 19). Largest genomic study on type 2 diabetes in sub-Saharan African populations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 18, 2019 from

ZRANB3 is an African-specific type 2 diabetes locus associated with beta-cell mass and insulin response. (2019, July 19). Retrieved October 18, 2019, from


  1. This was a very interesting article to read about. It was most interesting to read about the methods taken in this research. At times I still find it unbelievable that we have the technology to suppress a gene expression that can allow us to see the effects of turning that specific gene off.

  2. Scientists from numerous institutes discovered that ladies whose eating plans just before carrying a child were high in animal fat and cholesterol stood a higher risk intended for gestational diabetes as when compared to their brethren whose diets had been low in cholesterol as well as animal fat. blood glucose When one suffers from type 1 diabetes, the body ceases to produce insulin.