Distinct and shared genetic architectures of gestational diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes

Estonian Biobank Research Team, FinnGen, Amanda Elliott, Raymond K. Walters, Matti Pirinen, Mitja Kurki, Nella Junna, Jacqueline I. Goldstein, Mary Pat Reeve, Harri Siirtola, Susanna M. Lemmelä, Patrick Turley, Elisa Lahtela, Juha Mehtonen, Kadri Reis, Abdelrahman G. Elnahas, Anu Reigo, Priit Palta, Tõnu Esko, Reedik MägiAarno Palotie, Mark J. Daly, Elisabeth Widén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common metabolic disorder affecting more than 16 million pregnancies annually worldwide 1,2. GDM is related to an increased lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) 1–3, with over a third of women developing T2D within 15 years of their GDM diagnosis. The diseases are hypothesized to share a genetic predisposition 1–7, but few studies have sought to uncover the genetic underpinnings of GDM. Most studies have evaluated the impact of T2D loci only 8–10, and the three prior genome-wide association studies of GDM 11–13 have identified only five loci, limiting the power to assess to what extent variants or biological pathways are specific to GDM. We conducted the largest genome-wide association study of GDM to date in 12,332 cases and 131,109 parous female controls in the FinnGen study and identified 13 GDM-associated loci, including nine new loci. Genetic features distinct from T2D were identified both at the locus and genomic scale. Our results suggest that the genetics of GDM risk falls into the following two distinct categories: one part conventional T2D polygenic risk and one part predominantly influencing mechanisms disrupted in pregnancy. Loci with GDM-predominant effects map to genes related to islet cells, central glucose homeostasis, steroidogenesis and placental expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377–382
JournalNature Genetics
Early online dateJan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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