Dec 15, 2008 | 1
Researchers have identified six genes that may play a role in our appetite and, as a result, in whether we're plump or thin. They report in Nature Genetics that the genes appear to affect brain activity that controls how much we eat, indicating that obesity, at least in part, may stem from behavior passed on from one generation to the next.
The GIANT Consortium, an international group of scientists from over 60 institutions worldwide, compared the body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of body fat, with the genetic makeup of 90,000 people of European ancestry. Their findings: that slimmer folks had different versions of the six genes than their flabbier compeers.
Study co-author Elizabeth Speliotes, an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says the genes control activity in the brain's cortex (involved in decision making) and hypothalamus (which regulates appetite), indicating that the brain is a key factor in weight. But she notes that it's unclear exactly how the genes may affect hunger.
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