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Amish Family Diabetes Study (AFDS)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alan Shuldiner

The Amish Family Diabetes Study was initiated under the direction of Dr. Alan Shuldiner with the goal of identifying genes influencing the risk of type 2 diabetes and related traits. Over 1,400 individuals aged 18 years and older have been enrolled into the study since its inception in 1995. We have done extensive genetics research on the blood samples and have found a number of genes that have increased our understanding of what causes diabetes. These discoveries will lead to better ways to identify people at risk for diabetes and also new and more effective ways to treat diabetes.

Initial analyses suggest that type 2 diabetes may be slightly less common in the Amish population than in the overall U.S. Caucasian population, despite comparable levels of obesity. Diabetes, obesity, and blood pressure are heritable in the Amish, as they are in other populations. Strategies to localize and identify the genetic determinants of these disorders include a genome-wide linkage scan, followed by additional fine-mapping studies.