Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease resulting from pancreatic beta-cells destruction, often appearing on a genetic ground susceptibility under the influence of one or more environmental factors. Multiplex families studies, using genetic markers allowed the identification of various genes, including HLA, insulin, SUMO-4 and CTLA-4 all being linked with different degrees to disease risk. The MIF gene was also suggested, although its role has yet to be established on family or twin studies. The difference in susceptibility among T1D patients suggest the development of the disease as resulting from the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. This review emphasizes the importance of identifying the genes that have a direct impact on the autoimmune process, while recalling the different strategies that are followed. The style of writing should appeal to those with strong interests in molecular biology with an equal balance of immunology and molecular epidemiology.