Over the last decade, a larger number of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) susceptible candidate genes have been reported by numerous genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Understanding the genetic diversity of these candidate genes among worldwide populations not only facilitates to elucidating the genetic mechanism of T2DM, but also provides guidance to further studies of pathogenesis of T2DM in any certain population. In this study, we identified 170 genes or genomic regions associated with T2DM by searching the GWAS databases and related literatures. We next analyzed the genetic diversity of these genes (or genomic regions) among present-day human populations by curetting the 1000 Genomes Projects phase1 dataset covering 14 worldwide populations. We further compared the characteristics of T2DM genes in different populations. No significant differences of genetic diversity were observed among the 14 worldwide populations between the T2DM candidate genes and the non-T2DM genes in terms of overall pattern. However, we observed some genes, such as IL20RA, RNMTL1-NXN, NOTCH2, ADRA2A-BTBD7P2, TBC1D4, RBM38-HMGB1P1, UBE2E2, and PPARD, show considerable differentiation between populations. In particular, IL20RA (FST=0.1521) displays the greatest population difference which is mainly contributed by that between Africans and non-Africans. Moreover, we revealed genetic differences between East Asians and Europeans on some candidate genes such as DGKB-AGMO (FST=0.173) and JAZF1 (FST=0.182). Our results indicate that some T2DM susceptible candidate genes harbor highly-differentiated variants between populations. These analyses, despite preliminary, should advance our understanding of the population difference of susceptibility to T2DM and provide insightful reference that future studies can relay on.

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