Type-2 diabetes may be linked to abnormalities in a person's body clock and sleep patterns, according to an international study.
Researchers have identified a mutation associated with the body clock that increases the risk of diabetes by 20 per cent.
The findings suggest that type-2 diabetes could be tackled by treating sleep problems.
For this latest study, the researchers analysed the genetic make-up of 2,151 people in order to identify mutations associated with high blood glucose levels.
They found that people who had the rs1387153 mutation had higher blood glucose levels.
The researchers then investigated whether the presence of the mutation could increase the risk of type-2 diabetes by comparing the genetic make-up of 6,332 diabetics with that of a group of 9,132 healthy people with normal blood glucose levels.
Overall, the researchers found that those who had the rs1387153 mutation had a 20 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes than those who did not have the mutation.
The mutation is near a gene called MTNR1B and forms part of a signalling pathway that controls the action of melatonin, the hormone that regulates circadian rhythm.
The researchers say that this provides evidence that diabetes could be directly linked to impaired circadian rhythm.
Lead researcher Professor Philippe Froguel, from the department of genomic research at Imperial College London, said: 'We have been developing quite a clear picture of the key genes involved with high blood sugar and diabetes and this allows us to better understand them and suggest new avenues for treatment.'
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