Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Body weight influenced by thousands of genes

17.01.2008
Obesity quick fix unlikely; problem even more complex than previously thought

Reporting in the online journal BMC Genetics, researchers from the Monell Center have for the first time attempted to count the number of genes that contribute to obesity and body weight.

The findings suggest that over 6,000 genes – about 25 percent of the genome – help determine an individual’s body weight.

“Reports describing the discovery of a new ‘obesity gene’ have become common in the scientific literature and also the popular press,” notes Monell behavioral geneticist Michael G. Tordoff, PhD, an author on the study.

... more about:
»Contribute »knockout

“Our results suggest that each newly discovered gene is just one of the many thousands that influence body weight, so a quick fix to the obesity problem is unlikely.”

To obtain an estimate of how many genes contribute to body weight, the Monell researchers surveyed the Jackson Laboratory Mouse Genome Database for information on body weights of knockout mouse strains.

Knockout mice have had a specific gene inactivated, or "knocked out.” By studying how the knockout mice differ from normal mice, researchers obtain information about that gene’s function and how it might contribute to disease. Mice can provide valuable information on human disease because they share many genes with humans.

The knockout approach is so useful that the inventors of the technology were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Knockout mice are now standard tools in all mouse models of behavior and disease.

In 60% of strains, knocking out a gene produces mice that are nonviable; that is, the mouse cannot survive without the knocked out gene.

The Monell survey revealed that body weight was altered in over a third of the viable knockout stains; 31 percent weighed less than controls (indicating that the missing genes contribute to heavier body weight), while another 3 percent weighed more (contributing to lighter weight).

Extrapolating from the total number of genes in the mouse genome, this implies that over 6,000 genes could potentially contribute to the body weight of a mouse.

Tordoff comments, “It is interesting that there are 10 times more genes that increase body weight than decrease it, which might help explain why it is easier to gain weight than lose it.”

Because body weight plays a role in many diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, the implications of the findings extend beyond studies of obesity and body weight. Gene knockouts reported to affect these diseases and others could potentially be due to a general effect to lower body weight.

The findings also hold clinical relevance, according to lead author Danielle R. Reed, PhD, a Monell geneticist. "Clinicians and other professionals concerned with the development of personalized medicine need to expand their ideas of genetics to recognize that many genes act together to determine disease susceptibility."

Leslie Stein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.monell.org

Further reports about: Contribute knockout

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>