Gene Linked to Fat Storage Capacity

Article excerpt

EDINBURGH (PA): Some people are fatter than others, even when they eat similar food, because of genes that encourage fat storage, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh identified a number of genes in fat tissue that may lead people to retain weight unnecessarily in the body.

They hope the discovery could eventually lead to the development of medicines targeting obesity.

Scientists compared fat tissue from mice that had been selectively bred for many generations to be increasingly fat or thin, and as a result had acquired weight-related genes.

The researchers then pinpointed genes that prevented the breakdown of fat, which were more prevalent in the fat tissue of the overweight mice compared to the fat tissue of the lean mice.

Mice were then bred from one overweight parent and one lean parent.

The offspring that turned out to be overweight were found to have the same active genes as the fatter parent mouse, suggesting that hereditary factors play a role in fat storage and can increase the likelihood of putting on weight.

Nik Morton, a Wellcome Trust research career development fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Cardiovascular Science, said: aWhile genes controlling appetite are known to be important in determining our fatness, our study shows that genes switched on in the fat tissue itself can play a role in determining why some people tend to hang onto their fat more easily than others. …