Mexican-Americans who have an ancestral link to Amerindian tribes have a higher risk of developing diabetes type 2 and other metabolic disorders. Researchers say that the study can help design customized treatment strategies for people belonging to this group.

The study results are based on the data collected from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, which is an ongoing research that focuses on studying chronic diseases that affect Mexican-Americans.

In the present study, researchers analyzed the genetic risks and risks associated with being from a particular ancestry that make people vulnerable to chronic diseases. Researchers found that people, especially men, belonging to Amerindian tribes were at risk for having increased resistance to insulin - an indication of health complications like diabetes type 2.

Researchers used 103 ancestry informative markers to determine links to European, African and Amerindians. Ancestry informative markers are signature DNA of the ancestry. Researchers found that people with Amerindian ancestry were at elevated risk of chronic metabolic conditions.

"Now that we have identified the ancestral link, we have an opportunity to develop some new approaches to personalized medicine using genetic markers," said lead author HuiQi Qu, Ph.D., assistant professor at The University of Texas.

The study is published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Research shows Mexican-Americans have high risk of heart disease.

Earlier research from the University of Texas had found that almost 70 percent of participants in the Mexican-American study population had diabetes and hypertension. Researchers had found that most people were unaware that they had these diseases. Separate studies have showed that Mexican-American people who are obese or have high cholesterol levels also have variation in ischemic electrocardiographic (EKG) and have thickened carotid walls, both conditions that show an increased risk of a heart disease.

"In the past, Hispanics were thought to have a lower susceptibility to cardiovascular disease compared to the general population. Our research has refuted this notion and I think we still have yet to see the full impact of the heart disease burden among Mexican-Americans as this relatively young minority group ages in the next few decades," said Dr. Susan Laing, associate professor of cardiology at the UTHealth Medical School.