Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New insight into the link between genetics and obesity

12.11.2007
Scientists have acquired new insight into how the ‘obesity gene’ triggers weight gain in some individuals. Their findings, reported online today in Science Express, could have implications for the future treatment of obesity as well as adult onset diabetes.

Earlier this year a team of British geneticists discovered that variation in a gene called FTO influence people’s risk of becoming obese. While genetic defects causing human obesity had been previously described, the FTO discovery was of considerable interest because the genetic variant in FTO that predisposes to obesity is very common.

About half the UK population carry a copy of the variant and they are on average 1.6 kilograms heaver than those who don’t have the variant, while 16% of the population carry two copies of the variant and are on average three kilograms heavier. Carriers of the variant also had an increased risk of diabetes. However the function of FTO was completely unknown.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Oxford University and Cancer Research UK, London, have found that the FTO gene, codes for an enzyme that can act directly on DNA to modify it – suggesting that it might have a role in controlling the turning on and off of other genes.

... more about:
»FTO »obesity »variant

They also found that FTO is highly expressed in a region of the brain, called the hypothalamus, which has important roles in the control of hunger and satiety and that, in certain parts of the hypothalamus, the levels of FTO are influenced by feeding and fasting.

This work benefited from an unusual and exciting collaboration. Initially, the Cambridge/London and the Oxford teams were working independently on this problem but recently pooled their complementary expertise to ensure that the findings were reliably repeatable using different approaches in different laboratories.

Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, who led the Cambridge part of the collaboration, said: “This is the first glimpse into the possible mechanisms whereby this very common genetic variant might influence a person’s risk of obesity. The finding that FTO is an enzyme with these actions on DNA is very surprising and a lot of work is still needed to work out how its actions influence body weight.

“The finding that FTO may have some involvement in the control of the function of the hypothalamus suggest that, like other obesity genes previously discovered, it may play some role in the influencing how well the brain senses hunger and fullness. As the activity of FTO can be altered by small molecules like metabolites, it is possible, in the future, that FTO could be manipulated therapeutically to help treat obesity.”

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: "This is an important piece of research. We know that obesity increases people's risk of developing a range of cancers as well as other diseases, and the increasing number of people who are overweight will have significant implications for cancer in the future. Unravelling how this gene works is very exciting and may one day lead to new treatments for obesity. However maintaining a healthy body weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity is important for general health as well as reducing the risk of many cancers."

Genevieve Maul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cam.ac.uk

Further reports about: FTO obesity variant

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>