We review the strategy used to identify a susceptibility locus () for type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus. As type 1 diabetes is becoming the paradigm for dissecting multifactorial disease genetics, the approach described provides important general guidelines for positional cloning of human disease polygenes. Main topics include: () historical conspectus of the mapping and identification of —a critical survey of the work leading up to the conclusion that most likely corresponds to allelic variation at the insulin gene minisatellite (VNTR) locus; () the nature of allelic (length and sequence) variation at the VNTR locus; () gene interactions and disease pathogenesis; () mechanism of action of the VNTR in type 1 diabetes—insulin gene expression, parent-of-origin effects (genomic imprinting); and () summary and future prospects—alleles of the insulin VNTR that are protective for type 1 diabetes appear to encode susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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