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How do genetics influence the onset of diabetes?

Everyone is born with a set of instructions that tells the cells in your body how to grow, live, and function. These instructions lie in the particular chemical sequence of units known as bases, which make up the DNA in every cell in your body. Each cell in your body contains 46 chromosomes, which are made up of DNA and protein. Each DNA strand is like a long string that contains millions of bases. Along the strand lie the genes, unique segments of DNA that tell your cells what kind of protein to make. But just as books sometimes contain typographical errors, so too does the sequence of DNA. If there is a mistake, or mutation, in the DNA within a gene, then a faulty protein may be made that can’t do its job. Scientists are trying to determine how mistakes in specific genes cause diabetes. If mutated genes occur in germ cells—the eggs and sperm—then the DNA mutations can be passed on from generation to generation.

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