Six Gene Mutations Linked to Obesity

Six new gene mutations linked to obesity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At least six new gene mutations linked to obesity that point to ways the brain and nervous system control eating and metabolism have been identified, researchers reported Sunday.

Joel Hirschhorn at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston led a team called Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits, or GIANT, to screen 15 different studies of the entire human genetic map and pinpoint the six new genetic variations.

“Today’s findings are a major step forward in understanding how the human body regulates weight,” Dr. Alan Guttmacher, Acting director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, said in a statement.

“This study essentially doubles in one fell swoop the number of known and replicated genetic factors contributing to obesity as a public health problem,” added Dr. Kari Stefansson, Chief Executive Officer of DeCODE Genetics of Iceland, who led a team that made similar findings in a separate study.

The GIANT team found variations in six genes — TMEM18, KCTD15, GNPDA2, SH2B1, MTCH2 and NEGR1 — were strongly associated with the height-to-weight ratio known as body mass index (BMI).

“One of the most notable aspects of these discoveries is that most of these new risk factors are near genes that regulate processes in the brain,” added Stefansson, whose company hopes to sell genetic tests based on such discoveries.

“This suggests that as we work to develop better means of combating obesity, including using these discoveries as the first step in developing new drugs, we need to focus on the regulation of appetite at least as much as on the metabolic factors of how the body uses and stores energy,” Stefansson said.

“These new variants may point to valuable new drug targets,” he added.

Nearly one third of U.S. adults are considered obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher. Obesity is associated with more than 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S. population and trends are similar in many other countries.

“We know that environmental factors, such as diet, play a role in obesity, but this research further provides evidence that genetic variation plays a significant role in an individual’s predisposition to obesity,” said the genome institute’s Dr. Eric Green.

If there weren’t such a strong genetic factor, I would propse substituting obese with “unconcerned for my personal welfare, the welfare of those around me, living a life of quality, and frankly, life as a whole”.

These six newly discovered alleles strongly suggest predispositions to obesity. Of course, that was already known long, long, long ago. What wasn’t known was just how strong the genetic link was. In this case, 6 associated alleles is a surprisingly large number.

What’s tremendously important to note, however, is that we are not our genes. In very few cases is it overwhelmingly difficult to combat obesity – and in the majority of that minority, the cases are due to other, more serious diseases and genetic conditions. For most people, a healthy diet and regular excercise will combat the hell out of obesity.

Here’s something few obese people see in person.

Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin

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8 Responses

  1. What’s tremendously important to note, however, is that we are not our genes. In very few cases is it overwhelmingly difficult to combat obesity – and in the majority of that minority, the cases are due to other, more serious diseases and genetic conditions. For most people, a healthy diet and regular excercise will combat the hell out of obesity.

    Could we apply the same argument to homosexuality?

  2. Yes.

  3. So then you think we should treat obese people with the same respect and deference with which you expect us to treat homosexuals?

  4. Obese people deserve respect when they make an attempt at health because health is an important aspect to the quality of life of not only a single individual, but of society as a whole.

    It is important that we not simply treat others with respect, but that we treat ourselves with respect by virtue of all animals with a higher level of consciousness being deserving of said respect. That is, humans (and other animals) deserve respect. The self is a human. It deserves respect. By causing unhealth, that is a severe disrespect.

    There is no parallel with homosexuality because they are causing no harm to others except in the paranoid delusions of the Sean Hannity’s of the world.

  5. Obese people deserve respect when they make an attempt at health because health is an important aspect to the quality of life of not only a single individual, but of society as a whole.

    It is important that we not simply treat others with respect, but that we treat ourselves with respect by virtue of all animals with a higher level of consciousness being deserving of said respect. That is, humans (and other animals) deserve respect. The self is a human. It deserves respect. By causing unhealth, that is a severe disrespect.

    What other animals expect and ‘deserve’ respect? Are you saying that we should treat obese animals differently than thin ones?

    If the ‘self’ (which is an absurd notion from a materialistic perspective) deserves respect, why would appearance change how we treat the self?

    This looks like a bunch of undefined gobbledygook you are just making up here.

    There is no parallel with homosexuality because they are causing no harm to others except in the paranoid delusions of the Sean Hannity’s of the world.

    If the biological imperative is to procreate, then it would seem homosexuals are extremely harmful to themselves.

  6. What other animals expect and ‘deserve’ respect? Are you saying that we should treat obese animals differently than thin ones?

    Spain thinks, and I agree, that the other great apes deserve certain rights. Their health is irrelevant to my point.

    If the ’self’ (which is an absurd notion from a materialistic perspective) deserves respect, why would appearance change how we treat the self?

    The self simply means “myself”. That is, to me, you’re Jack. To you, Jack is your “self”. That is all the self means. Its use is linguistic. It does not imply anything that could possibly make it abusrd from a materialist or supernaturalistic point of view.

    If the biological imperative is to procreate, then it would seem homosexuals are extremely harmful to themselves.

    And Trojan be damned for making condoms.

  7. Spain thinks, and I agree, that the other great apes deserve certain rights. Their health is irrelevant to my point.

    It’s very relevant; you are basing whether one respects another based on their dietary choices.

    The self simply means “myself”. That is, to me, you’re Jack. To you, Jack is your “self”. That is all the self means. Its use is linguistic. It does not imply anything that could possibly make it abusrd from a materialist or supernaturalistic point of view.

    Yes, it is impossible to actually speak about choice and will from a materialistic perspective.

    And Trojan be damned for making condoms.

    Not procreate continuously…

  8. It’s very relevant; you are basing whether one respects another based on their dietary choices.

    The rights and respect for the other apes is limited in scope by the very nature and level of consciousness achievable by these animals. The dietary choice of a Golden Lion Tamarin is dictated by instinct (and availability) more than anything – except in the notable case of captivity, where it is dictated by its keeper(s).

    Yes, it is impossible to actually speak about choice and will from a materialistic perspective.

    So had I only written of how we should treat each other – not mentioning the self at all – would you be making this exact same argument? I think you’ve just failed to understand what I intend by the “self”. Each human should be treated equally. By virtue of also being a human, I should treat myself equally. It’s really quite simple. Why you’ve brought free will into this is interesting, but unimportant.

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