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In interviews the game designers have said that when you start a new game it will ask if you want to load a profile from ME1.

The actual things that will influence ME2 are as follows: (Note: this list may not be complete)

The ending you chose Which of your squadmates are still alive Your treatment of Conrad verner (The guy who was obsessed with you in the Wards of the Presidium) What you did in the Asari Diplomacy Quest Whether you left the Rachni Queen alive or not

There are moer, you should check out the Wiki