Genetic change linked to obesity

The first common genetic variant that substantially increases a person’s risk of obesity has been identified, researchers claim.

The team identified a small genetic change in a region of DNA near a gene known as INSIG2 as being linked to obesity. 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, according to the study.
They believe this change somehow affects the regulation of the gene INSIG2, which has a role in fat production.

The US researchers, led by Albert Herbert at the Boston University Medical School, found that an individual with two copies of the C variant is 22% more likely to have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 – the point where people move from being "overweight" to "obese".

Scientists predict that genes may contribute anywhere from 30% to 70% of the risk of obesity, but they stress that environmental factors, like diet, play a crucial role.

The C variant was found to increase the risk of obesity in populations including people of Western European ancestry, African Americans and children. About 10% of populations they studied carried two copies of this mutation.

New Scientist Breaking News - Common genetic change linked to obesity

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