"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How newly discovered genes may very well be linked to obesity

August 8, 2023 – Newly discovered genes could explain differences in body fat percentage between chubby men and girls and likewise why some people change into chubby in childhood.

The identification of specific genes is further evidence that obesity is partly biologically determined. Researchers hope the findings will result in effective treatments and, within the meantime, contribute to the understanding that there are a lot of varieties of obesity which can be brought on by a mix of genes and environmental aspects.

Although the study is just not the primary to point to specific genes, “we were quite surprised by the putative function of some of the genes we identified,” Lena R. Kaisinger, the study's lead researcher, wrote in an email. For example, the genes also control cell death and influence how cells reply to DNA damage, said Kaisinger, a doctoral student within the MRC Epidemiology Unit on the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, UK.

Researchers are usually not sure why genes liable for height perform this dual function, which opens latest avenues for future research.

The Gene sequencing study was published online within the journal on August 2 Cell genomics.

Differences between ladies and men

The next time you ought to impress someone along with your scientific knowledge, perhaps you would mention in casual conversation that researchers have just discovered five latest genes in women and two latest genes in men which can be related to the next body mass index (BMI).

If your answer is “Absolutely not,” reassure them that that is true.

If you ought to go further, write these on the palm of your hand: They are genes generally known as DIDO1, KIAA1109, MC4R, PTPRG and SLC12A5 in women and MC4R and SLTM in men. Depending on the scale of your hand, you could also need to indicate that folks who remember being obese as a toddler usually tend to have rare genetic changes in two other genes, OBSCN and MADD.

“The key point is that when you see real genes with real gene names, it really reinforces the idea that obesity is due to genetic causes,” says Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, director of the Obesity and Metabolism Institute in Boston, who was not involved within the research.

Kaisinger, co-author Katherine A. Kentistou, PhD, lead writer John RB Perry, PhD, and colleagues discovered these significant genetic differences while examining the genomes of about 420,000 people stored within the UK Biobank, an enormous biomedical database. The researchers selected to look at the genes by sex and age because these are “two areas that we still know very little about,” Kaisinger said.

“We know that different types of obesity are associated with different ages of life,” said Kaplan, who can be past president of the Obesity Society, a 2,800-member skilled group that studies the science, treatment and prevention of obesity. “But what they've done now is find genes that are associated with specific subtypes of obesity… some are more common in one sex and some are more common at different stages of life, including early-onset obesity.”

The future is already here

There are already treatments for obesity based on an individual’s genes. For example, in June 2022, the FDA approved Setmelanotide (Imcivree) for weight control in adults and kids over 6 years of age with certain genetic markers.

Although setmelanotide is encouraging for Kaisinger and colleagues, it remains to be too early to translate current research findings into clinical obesity tests and potential treatments, she said.

The “holy grail,” Kaplan said, is a future during which individuals are tested for a specific genetic profile and their doctor can then tell them, “You are probably most susceptible to this type, so we will treat you with a special drug designed for people with this phenotype.”

Kaplan added: “That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”

In the long run, Kaisinger and his colleagues plan to repeat the study on larger and more diverse populations. They also plan to reverse the same old study process, which normally starts in animals after which moves on to humans. “We plan to further develop the most promising gene candidates in mouse models to learn more about their function and how exactly their dysfunction leads to obesity,” Kaisinger said.

The link between genetics and obesity is an energetic area of ​​research. Stay tuned for more insights into how your specific obesity type might fit along with your genes.