From Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA:
I have two questions. Is diabetes a sex linked disease? Is there a high or low frequency among births?
Question 1: No, type 1 diabetes is not directly sex-linked in that none of the genes so far identified are located on sex chromosomes. However, it is interesting that the offspring of a father with diabetes are more likely to develop the disease than those of a mother. There is a very rare type of diabetes which is transmitted by genes in subcellular elements called mitochondria. This is passed down the maternal line and is associated with deafness.
Question 2: I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Type 1 diabetes is a relatively uncommon disease which has a variable incidence around the world. In Scotland this is 24/100,000 per year in the under 15s but in Japan the equivalent figure is about 3 and the average in the US around 15. It is extremely rarely present at birth. The rates are rising in most parts of the world and this must be environmental rather than genetic but we don't know the triggers.
Original posting 9 Feb 1999
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention
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