To identify genetic factors contributing to type 2 diabetes (T2D), we performed large-scale meta-analyses by using a custom ∼50,000 SNP genotyping array (the ITMAT-Broad-CARe array) with ∼2000 candidate genes in 39 multiethnic population-based studies, case-control studies, and clinical trials totaling 17,418 cases and 70,298 controls. First, meta-analysis of 25 studies comprising 14,073 cases and 57,489 controls of European descent confirmed eight established T2D loci at genome-wide significance. In silico follow-up analysis of putative association signals found in independent genome-wide association studies (including 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls) performed by the DIAGRAM consortium identified a T2D locus at genome-wide significance (GATAD2A/CILP2/PBX4; p = 5.7 × 10 -9) and two loci exceeding study-wide significance (SREBF1, and TH/INS; p < 2.4 × 10 -6). Second, meta-analyses of 1,986 cases and 7,695 controls from eight African-American studies identified study-wide-significant (p = 2.4 × 10 -7) variants in HMGA2 and replicated variants in TCF7L2 (p = 5.1 × 10 -15). Third, conditional analysis revealed multiple known and novel independent signals within five T2D-associated genes in samples of European ancestry and within HMGA2 in African-American samples. Fourth, a multiethnic meta-analysis of all 39 studies identified T2D-associated variants in BCL2 (p = 2.1 × 10 -8). Finally, a composite genetic score of SNPs from new and established T2D signals was significantly associated with increased risk of diabetes in African-American, Hispanic, and Asian populations. In summary, large-scale meta-analysis involving a dense gene-centric approach has uncovered additional loci and variants that contribute to T2D risk and suggests substantial overlap of T2D association signals across multiple ethnic groups.