Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that "occurs when the body is unable to produce or respond to insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose to enter the cells of the body and generate the body's energy" (Ebony, 115). Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 3% of the world' population. In American alone, 10.3 million people report having diabetes, while an estimated 10 million more individuals may have undiagnosed diabetes (Morwessel, 540). The gene for diabetes is located in the HLA region on chromosome 6, and the most probable organization of the responsible gene is on a 19-kb region of INS-IGF2, which affects HLA-DR4 IDDM susceptibility. Diabetes Mellitus, was first diagnosed in the year 1000 BC, by the father of Indian medicine, Susrata of the Hindus (Knott, 539). The actual term was coined by Apollonius of Memphis in 230 BC. Like other complex gene disorders, diabetes does not have an identifiable inheritance pattern, although the disease seems to cluster within families (Morwessel, 552).
Two different forms of diabetes mellitus exist: Type I and Type II. Type I, formerly known as IDDM or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, affects 10% of diabetics. The remaining 90% are induced with Type II, formerly known as NIDDM or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (Nelson et al, 227). Type I diabetes is the most common chronic illness during childhood development, and usually evolves in individuals under the age of 15. The formation of Type I diabetes usually shortens the life span by an average of 10-20 years. While Type I diabetes is the more severe form, Type II diabetes is the more common form. It seems to affect individuals from different ethnic backgrounds, mainly Asian, African, Mexican, and Native American. Type II diabetes is found within individuals over the age of 45, and those who contain an obesity problem (Morwessel, 540). The genetics causes of Type I and Type II diabetes stem from elevated blood glucose levels. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by b -cell destruction, usually leading to an absolute insulin deficiency (Dahlquist 5). Type II diabetes extends from primarily insulin resistance with relative insulin deficiency to primarily defective insulin secretion with insulin resistance.
Much research has been done on determining the genes that are responsible for diabetes mellitus. Type I diabetes is known as a "complex trait," because the mutations in several genes contribute to it. IDDM1 on chromosome 6, IDDM2 on chromosome 11, and the gene for GCK, glucokinase, on chromosome 7, have all been reported as playing an integral part in the development of Type I diabetes (Dahlquist 5). The mechanisms behind these genes are not yet known at this time. In Type I diabetes, "the body's immune system mounts an immunological assault on its own insulin and...