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Type 2 Diabetes PRS, Family History Independently Associated With Gestational Diabetes Risk

Polygenic risk scores for type 2 diabetes and a family history of diabetes are independently associated with the risk that women of South Asian descent will develop gestational diabetes, a new eLife study reports. Researchers from McMaster University in Canada and Bradford Royal Infirmary in the UK generated polygenic risk scores for type 2 diabetes for more than 5,200 pregnant South Asian women from the SouTh Asian BiRth CohorT (START) and Born in Bradford (BiB) cohort studies. The PRS was derived from an independent, multiethnic study. For every standard deviation increase in PRS score, the researchers found an about 45 percent increase in gestational diabetes risk as well as increases in related traits like fasting blood glucose levels. This association, they note, was independent of maternal age, body-mass index, parental history of diabetes, and maternal birth country. The researchers caution, though, that the "clinical implications of our findings should be carefully considered," adding that although their results show "a strong association, the PRS has a low discriminatory value (detection rate of 10 percent for a 5 percent false positive rate) regarding [gestational diabetes] cases."