A discovery by a research team led by a University of Iowa professor could eventually lead to a cure for diabetes and obesity. The U-of-I’s Val Sheffield was the principal investigator in the gene research.They studied a very rare inherited disorder called “Bardet-Biedl” Syndrome” or B-B-S. Some of the common disorders associated with B-B-S include obesity, diabetes, heart defects and mental retardation. Sheffield’s research involved studying the BBS genes in several families with the disease.They mapped the chromosomes of the family to find the genes that contained the B-B-S and studied them to find out what other genes they interact with and that may lead them to the genes that cause the common disorders. Sheffield says this initial research has taken about nine years.He believes they can use the information gathered in the human genome project to speed up the pace of finding the links between obesity and diabetes. The latest findings of Sheffield’s research team will be published in the June issue of “Nature Genetics.”