Scientists Found Genetic Variants to Provide Protection against Obesity

By: | April 22nd, 2019

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Worldwide, obesity rates are increasing around the world. Obesity not only spoils the body shape but it also increases the risk of many chronic diseases.

Now a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge is working on the root causes of the obesity epidemic…our genes!

Researcher Sadaf Farooqi said, “This study drives home the fact that genetics plays a major role in why some people are obese and that some people are fortunate enough to have genes that protect them from obesity.”

Scientists have discovered genetic variants, or mutations, that protect people from obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

Researchers foresee that this discovery could lead to the development of drugs that may help people lose weight

Scientists discovered gene ‘MC4R’ plays an important role in regulating weight. Genetic variants in the MC4R gene were found to increase the activity of this brain receptor that can save the people from becoming overweight.

In the study published in the journal Cell, researchers analyzed this ‘MC4R’ gene in half a million volunteers from the UK population who have taken part in the UK Biobank study, discovering 61 distinct naturally-occurring genetic variants. Some of these genetic variants provided protection against obesity symptoms, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, while some predisposed people to become obese.

Researcher Luca Lotta said, “A powerful emerging concept is that genetic variants that protect against disease can be used as models for the development of medicines that are more effective and safer,”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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