International experts probed deeper than ever into the genetic differences between individuals that affect the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Lead investigator Professor Mark McCarthy, from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University, said: "The 10 gene regions we have shown to be associated with Type 2 diabetes are taking us nearer a biological understanding of the disease.
"It is hard to come up with new drugs for diabetes without first having an understanding of which biological processes in the body to target. This work is taking us closer to that goal."
Almost three million people in the UK are affected by diabetes and a further 850,000 may be undiagnosed. Ninety per cent of those affected have the Type 2 version of the disease, which is linked to obesity and lifestyle. Diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to control the level of sugar in the blood. Left untreated, it can cause a host of health problems including heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and blindness.