Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Lean Gene: Thinness Is An Inheritable Trait

Date:
April 3, 2008
Source:
Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Scientists find predisposition for skinny jeans is in the genes. Your friend can eat whatever she wants and still fit into her prom dress, but you gain five pounds if you just look at that chocolate cake. Before you sign up for Weight Watchers and that gym membership, though, you may want to look at some recent research and save yourself a few hundred dollars. A woman's waistline may have less to do with rigorous exercise and abstaining from sweets than it does with the genes of her parents.

New research suggests that a woman's waistline may have less to do with rigorous exercise and abstaining from sweets than it does with the genes of her parents.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alexander Novikov

Your friend can eat whatever she wants and still fit into her prom dress, but you gain five pounds if you just look at that chocolate cake. Before you sign up for Weight Watchers and that gym membership, though, you may want to look at some recent research from Tel Aviv University and save yourself a few hundred dollars.

Related Articles


A woman's waistline may have less to do with rigorous exercise and abstaining from sweets than it does with the genes of her parents, according to a new study by Prof. Gregory Livshits from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and colleagues from King's College in London. Dr. Livshits and his colleagues have found a scientific link between the lean body mass of a woman and her genes. They've determined that thinness -- like your smile or the color of your eyes -- is an inheritable trait.

Bad News First, Then the Good

Prof. Livshits, whose findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (2007), says, "The bad news is that many of our physical features, including our weight, are dependent on our genes. The good news is that women still have an opportunity to go against their genetic constitution and do something about it."

Until now, scientists were not sure to what extent environmental influences and genetics played a role in a woman's body size. When controlling for the variance of age, the differences in womens' body sizes can be predicted in the genes more than 50 percent of the time, the researchers found.

Prof. Livshits conducted his study on more than 3,000 middle-aged women in the United Kingdom who belonged to either an identical or fraternal twin pair. He measured their "total lean mass," one of the three major components of body weight, and compared it to markers in their genes.

A Slim Chance?

Additional collaborative research between the two teams, which builds on the past study, is to be published in the next few months. It may help pave the way for a "skinny gene test," which one day may help women trying to lose weight understand what kind of battle they can expect.

Those without the lean genes, however, will always find it harder to stay slim, predicts Prof. Livshits. But before your diet falls by the wayside, consider Prof. Livshits' contention that genetics can be overcome.

Curb Your Enthusiasm

It's important to not have high expectations, he warns. "Women need to know that what they can do about their body weight -- especially when they age -- is relatively little, and they will do it only with much difficulty."

Very few studies to date have been able to associate a body's lean mass with genetics. The topic is a specialty at the Tel Aviv University lab, one of the top labs in the world to study the genetics of aging of body composition. This area includes the study of bone, fat and lean mass as it develops in a person over time.

Research on body composition components -- their growth, degradation and genes -- is part of Prof. Livshits' ongoing work on aging and health. Issues such as weight gain are complex, he says, especially when age is factored in.

So don't get too jealous of your friend's dress size. It may be mostly out of your hands -- and in your DNA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tel Aviv University. "The Lean Gene: Thinness Is An Inheritable Trait." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080401120505.htm>.
Tel Aviv University. (2008, April 3). The Lean Gene: Thinness Is An Inheritable Trait. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080401120505.htm
Tel Aviv University. "The Lean Gene: Thinness Is An Inheritable Trait." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080401120505.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
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