The Botnia study was initiated in 1990 on the western coast of Finland in the Gulf of Bothnia with the aim to:
- Characterize the early metabolic defects in individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Identify genetic variants predisposing to type 2 diabetes
- Study how the identified genetic markers and biomarkers can predict the development of type 2 diabetes and progression of the disease
- Identify means to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
The Ostrobothnia region was selected on the basis of:
- Botnia represents a homogenous Swedish-speaking population that shares a genetic background with Scandinavia and Finland
- A majority of family members were still living in the region and thus available for study
- It has a well-organized health care system that supported our plans
- We had previous positive experience of working with people in the region
In the Botnia study all individuals with known type 2 diabetes attending five health centers (Närpes, Malax-Korsnäs, Korsholm, Jakobstad and Vasa) were invited to participate. All type 2 diabetic patients who had at least two living first-degree relatives were invited to participate in further studies. All first-degree relatives of these patients, as well as a random subset of non-diabetic spouses, were invited.