Clarifying the Obesity Genetics Picture

December 13th, 2012 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

Obesity has always been known to carry a strong genetic component. At first, there was hope of finding “the gene.” This turned out to be a flawed strategy as many genes were identified which affected body weight and body weight distribution. In a new study, a team using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) studied extreme obesity cases and never-overweight controls as well as families segregating extreme obesity and thinness. They found 16 genome-wide significant signals with the FTO gene being the strongest signal. The second most powerful signal was the MC4R gene. Adding total body weight, waist circumference and waist to hip ration, they found a strong signal for the NRXN3 gene. The researchers state, “The results therefore strongly suggest that FTO and MC4R might be the only two major-effect genes for obesity with common variants in population of European ancestry.” PLOS ONE: Genome-Wide Association Study on Obesity


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