INSIG2 - Genetic component in obesity identified
Apr 14, 2006 - 10:33:37 PM

US scientists have identified a genetic change in a region of the DNA related to fat production, which they say could help in new treatments for obesity.

More than one-third of people in the US are obese and the population of other countries are increasingly facing similar weight issues.

Albert Herbert and fellow researchers at the Boston University Medical School identified a small genetic change in a region of DNA near a gene known as INSIG2 as being linked to obesity, reported the online edition of New Scientist.

The DNA code is made up of four bases, or "letters". A single change in this particular region, from a G to a C, makes a person more prone to obesity, the study says.

The researchers looked at almost 87,000 points in the human genome which show variation between individuals, and related this to the body mass index (BMI) of over 900 people.

The team found one particular genetic variation near the INSIG2 gene. This change somehow affects the regulation of the gene INSIG2, which they say has a role in fat production.

In follow-up studies involving about 9,000 individuals in total, they also found the same association.

The researchers said that an individual with two copies of the C variant is 22 percent more likely to have a BMI greater than 30 - the point where people move from being "overweight" to "obese".

They hope that their discovery will open doors to new treatments for the condition.

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