Multi-ancestry genetic study of type 2 diabetes highlights the power of diverse populations for discovery and translation

Anubha Mahajan*, Cassandra N Spracklen, Weihua Zhang, Maggie C Y Ng, Lauren E Petty, Hidetoshi Kitajima, Grace Z Yu, Sina Rüeger, Leo Speidel, Young Jin Kim, Momoko Horikoshi, Josep M Mercader, Daniel Taliun, Sanghoon Moon, Soo-Heon Kwak, Neil R Robertson, Nigel W Rayner, Marie Loh, Bong-Jo Kim, Joshua ChiouIrene Miguel-Escalada, Pietro Della Briotta Parolo, Kuang Lin, Fiona Bragg, Michael H Preuss, Fumihiko Takeuchi, Jana Nano, Xiuqing Guo, Amel Lamri, Masahiro Nakatochi, Robert A Scott, Jung-Jin Lee, Alicia Huerta-Chagoya, Mariaelisa Graff, Jin-Fang Chai, Esteban J Parra, Jie Yao, Lawrence F Bielak, Yasuharu Tabara, Yang Hai, Valgerdur Steinthorsdottir, James P Cook, Mart Kals, Niels Grarup, Ellen M Schmidt, Ian Pan, Tamar Sofer, Ivan Brandslund, Marit E Jørgensen, FinnGen, eMERGE Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We assembled an ancestrally diverse collection of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in 180,834 affected individuals and 1,159,055 controls (48.9% non-European descent) through the Diabetes Meta-Analysis of Trans-Ethnic association studies (DIAMANTE) Consortium. Multi-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis identified 237 loci attaining stringent genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10-9), which were delineated to 338 distinct association signals. Fine-mapping of these signals was enhanced by the increased sample size and expanded population diversity of the multi-ancestry meta-analysis, which localized 54.4% of T2D associations to a single variant with >50% posterior probability. This improved fine-mapping enabled systematic assessment of candidate causal genes and molecular mechanisms through which T2D associations are mediated, laying the foundations for functional investigations. Multi-ancestry genetic risk scores enhanced transferability of T2D prediction across diverse populations. Our study provides a step toward more effective clinical translation of T2D GWAS to improve global health for all, irrespective of genetic background.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Genetics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)560-572
Publication statusPublished - 12. May 2022


  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/epidemiology
  • Ethnicity
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics
  • Risk Factors


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