Royal Society GlaxoSmithKline Lecture 2016 by Professor Andrew Hattersley FMedSci FRS. Diabetes affects over 4 million people in the UK but there are still many uncertainties about the causes and best treatment approaches for this common condition. Professor Andrew Hattersley FRS will show how, for patients with pure genetic diabetes, defining the specific causes of a patient’s diabetes has resulted in dramatic improvements in their treatment. These findings have changed the management of patients born with diabetes or with strongly familial diabetes throughout the world and have led to molecular genetic testing becoming a first line clinical investigation. The fundamental principle of this Precision Medicine approach is that defining discrete aetiological subgroups of patients within a broader clinical diagnosis can improve clinical care for patients. The next challenge is to use 'Precision Diabetes' to define different subtypes of the common forms of diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) and to use this information to improve care. Early work suggests that there are genuine differences between patients with the same clinical diagnosis and these do alter the response to diabetes treatments.