Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Hunters Fine-tune Marker For Common Obesity Gene

Date:
March 15, 2008
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
Genomics researchers, seeking to replicate another group's discovery of an important gene associated with obesity, have further refined the signal to a particular variant in DNA that may be more helpful in identifying this gene's role in obesity in various human populations worldwide. The finding suggests that the gene variant, identified in DNA from African-American children, may be a tag of an ancient mutation that first arose in Africa, where humans originated.

Genomics researchers, seeking to replicate another group's discovery of an important gene associated with obesity, have further refined the signal to a particular variant in DNA that may be more helpful in identifying this gene's role in obesity in various human populations worldwide. The finding suggests that the gene variant, identified in DNA from African American children, may be a tag of an ancient mutation that first arose in Africa, where humans originated.

The research team, led by Struan Grant, Ph.D., and Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., both of the Center for Applied Genomics of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, was studying the FTO gene, identified by a British group in 2007 as raising the risk of adult and childhood obesity. Although environmental influences are certainly important, family studies have indicated that obesity has a genetic component as well.

The research team, from Children's Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, reported its findings in the March 12 issue of the journal Public Library of Science One.

The 2007 British group had originally found the FTO gene variant among obese Caucasians. Using samples from Caucasian and African American children, who were either obese or not, the Children's Hospital group used a genetic screening technique to replicate the previous finding. They found the same gene variant among Caucasian children, but not among the African American children.

Instead, a second variant, found in both Caucasians and African Americans, was the only marker significantly linked to obesity among the African American children. Both variants were changes to a single chemical base along the DNA strand, which geneticists call single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs.

For genomics researchers, said Grant, the findings mean that if other investigators look only for the first SNP in subjects with African ancestry, they would find no association with obesity. The second SNP may have deep roots in evolutionary history. Scientists have multiple lines of evidence indicating that humans originated in Africa, and this SNP may be related to an original mutation in the distant past that initiated a human predisposition to obesity.

The fact that mutations in the FTO gene carry a comparable risk of obesity in both children and adults, said Grant, suggests that the gene may be primarily associated with obesity that begins in childhood. Future medical treatments may benefit patients by targeting the FTO gene pathway, added Grant, although such treatments await a better understanding of the underlying biology of obesity.

The study team will continue to seek out other possible gene variants within the FTO gene, plus other genes that may be involved in obesity. The Center for Applied Genomics at Children's Hospital is currently the largest pediatric genotyping program in the world.

Dr. Grant's and Dr. Hakonarson's co-authors were Robert I. Berkowitz, M.D., Mingyao Li, Ph.D., Jonathan P. Bradfield, Cecilia E. Kim, Kiran Annaiah, Erin Santa, Joseph T. Glessner, Tracy Casalunovo, Edward C. Frackelton, F. George Otieno, Julie L. Shaner, Ryan M. Smith, Marcin Imielinski, M.D., Ph.D., Andrew W. Eckhert, and Rosetta M. Chiavacci.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Gene Hunters Fine-tune Marker For Common Obesity Gene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080311215639.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2008, March 15). Gene Hunters Fine-tune Marker For Common Obesity Gene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080311215639.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Gene Hunters Fine-tune Marker For Common Obesity Gene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080311215639.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) — Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins