In the battle against flab, who wouldn't love an "exercise" pill? Such a quick fix might be possible: biomedical researchers have found a way to rev up the metabolic machinery and thereby keep excess weight off--using genetics instead of the gym.
The key appears to be a protein called PPAR-delta. A decade ago Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., discovered that it regulates other genes involved in the breakdown of fat. He showed that activating PPAR-delta raised metabolism and helped animals burn more fat. For his latest study, Evans and his colleagues from Seoul National University wanted to know if PPAR-delta had measurable effects in terms of weight change.