Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


 


 

Genetic link to morbid obesity

25 November 2013

By Claire Downes

Appeared in BioNews 732

A single gene linked to morbid obesity in a family in Israel also causes obesity and diabetes when deleted in mice.

The gene, which produces a protein known as CEP19, could be responsible for the onset of obesity, according to research in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Researchers in Israel examined an Arab family including 13 morbidly obese family members and 31 with a body mass index under 35 and pinpointed that the difference between the two groups was a mutated CEP19 gene.

'This gene is shown to be present not only in humans and mice but also in the simplest known single-cell animal', said Dr John Martignetti, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, USA, who led the study.

Next, the team deleted the gene in mice. Those with the mutated CEP19 gene were found to be twice the weight of normal mice with twice the amount of body fat. They were also diabetic, ate more, and moved around less than the control mice.

'The mouse models we have generated, which can be more than twice as heavy as other mice and are insulin resistant, represent important research tools for basic biology and clinical testing', said Dr Martignetti.

Dr Martignetti added that the CEP19 gene 'seems to be fundamental to regulating nutritional status', but larger-scale studies are required for researchers to determine the mechanisms behind its effects.

Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum, told Metro about his 'mixed feelings' on this study, saying 'there's a danger that those with obesity will think changing their lifestyle won't make a difference and so they don't seek treatment or help'.

However, Dr Martignetti believes that 'if we are going to combat this disease, we need to understand its medical basis'.

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

14 April 2014 - by Amanda Jefferys 
Weight loss improves both fertility and reproductive outcomes, and weight management medications and surgery are more effective than lifestyle interventions in achieving significant weight loss. Can infertility be considered a medical condition associated with obesity?...
24 February 2014 - by Dr Rachel Brown 
A mutation in a gene may explain why certain people exercise less and gain weight, according to a study published in PLOS Genetics...
02 December 2013 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
An artificial 'gene circuit' implanted in obese mice promotes weight loss by reducing appetite, while having no effect when implanted in mice of normal weight...

28 October 2013 - by Dr Rachel Brown 
A number of rare mutations in a gene that helps regulate how the body burns calories has been linked to an increased appetite and childhood obesity, according to a study from the University of Cambridge...
22 July 2013 - by Julianna Photopoulos 
A gene known to be linked to a much higher risk of obesity has been found to affect levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, according to an international group of scientists...
15 April 2013 - by Hana Ayoob 
Scientists have identified four new gene variants associated with severe childhood obesity...
26 November 2012 - by Dr Nicola Davis 
A gene linked to obesity may also provide protection from major depression, say scientists...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation