Scientists Report An Array Of Obesity Genes

Well maybe obesity is genetic, after all, per this report from U.S. News & World Report:

Scientists have found genes that appear to play a role in the propensity for obesity.

The findings are reported in two new studies published in the Oct. 10 online edition of Nature Genetics.

In one report, researchers say they have identified 18 gene variants linked to obesity and confirmed the involvement of 14 others. In a second report, the same group of researchers say they have identified 13 gene variants that appear to direct fat to the belly or thighs.

“We have made a big leap forward in identifying new gene variations that contribute to the susceptibility to obesity and susceptibility to store fat more on your hips or more on your waist,” said researcher Ruth Loos, a group leader in the Genetic Aetiology of Obesity Program in the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the Institute of Metabolic Science, in Cambridge, U.K.

Loos cautioned that these genes cannot be used to predict whether an individual will become obese or not. Right now, they have identified genes linked to obesity, but exactly how these genes work in developing a vulnerability to obesity isn’t known, she added.

“But if we know the biology, perhaps we can invent a more effective preventive strategy. Maybe we can identify proteins that we can target with drugs,” Loos said. “It’s going to take years before these new discoveries will develop into new interventions.”

In addition, having these gene variants doesn’t mean that an individual is definitely going to be obese. “The prediction is not much better than just flipping a coin,” Loos said…

[continues at U.S. News & World Report]

, ,

21