Diabetes mellitus is a major public health concern estimated to affect over 7% of the population in England. Risk factors related to lifestyle - e.g. obesity and lack of exercise - are well documented and are the focus for public health interventions.

However, results from twin studies have established a genetic basis for susceptibility to diabetes, although the genetic markers remained elusive until recently. With the new ability to rapidly sequence DNA and conduct genome wide association studies (GWAS) – the genetic contributors to the development and progression of diabetes are now being revealed. Below we assess the consequences for preventing, diagnosing and managing diabetes based on the latest knowledge of the genomic contribution to the disease.