Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex disease that is caused by a complex interplay between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. While the major environmental factors, diet and activity level, are well known, identification of the genetic factors has been a challenge. However, recent years have seen an explosion of genetic variants in risk and protection of T2D due to the technical development that has allowed genome-wide association studies and next-generation sequencing. Today, more than 120 variants have been convincingly replicated for association with T2D and many more with diabetes-related traits. Still, these variants only explain a small proportion of the total heritability of T2D. In this review, we address the possibilities to elucidate the genetic landscape of T2D as well as discuss pitfalls with current strategies to identify the elusive unknown heritability including the possibility that our definition of diabetes and its subgroups is imprecise and thereby makes the identification of genetic causes difficult.
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