Skip to main content

A new genetic breakthrough could be key for a potential obesity “cure”

A new genetic breakthrough could be key for a potential obesity “cure”

Nearly half of all Europeans are genetically predisposed to obesity. The condition is a worldwide epidemic affecting more than half a billion people and rising every year in most countries.
Despite this, we know little about the genetic origin of the condition and have no good medical treatment for it other than bariatric surgery. But now a genetic study seems to have cracked the mystery—raising hopes for more efficient treatment.
The global obesity crisis is often blamed on an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. However, studies have shown that 70-80% of the differences between people in body fat are due to their genes (this is called the heritability).
The first large-scale genetic studies for obesity were launched in 2007, after the initial mapping of the human genome. And one gene, dubbed FTO, made the headlines by popping its head above the other 20,000 genes in the pack. For the past eight years, despite finding nearly 100 other genes linked to obesity, FTO and the area around it have remained the top signals. But scientists around the world have struggled to understand how the gene works and whether it really is behind obesity.

A switch for fat burning?

The new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine by an international team of researchers, took seven years and cost more than a million dollars. It is based on a wide range of studies of hundreds of patients, cell types, and laboratory mice. The researchers also mined a rich public resource of databases for gene expression as well as the heritable changes in gene expression (epigenetics), demonstrating just how complex this field has become.
It turns out that the FTO gene doesn’t do much directly—it influences other nearby genes which cause the changes via regions in the DNA called enhancers and repressors. These can change the precursors of adult fat cells while they are still developing. All fat cells originally come from our bone marrow along with cartilage and bone cells and they pass through different stages as they become fat cells.
We know from recent research there are different types of fat cells in humans, with the most common being white, then some beige and a few brown—each storing and burning fat differently. Obese people have a greater proportion of white cells, which stores the fat rather than burning it off (getting larger as a result). The susceptibility gene variant that the study uncovered makes people produce less brown and beige fat—although the natural effects are quite small. By understanding how the body changes unhealthy white fat cells to healthy beige cells, we can start to develop new treatments for obesity. 
The team went on to block this pathway using a gene editing tool called CRISPR and found the effects on cells in culture and in lab mice were actually substantial: with five- to seven-fold effects on the animals’ ability to burn fat. In fact, blocking the pathway made the animals 50% thinner.
The implications of this work are that after ten years of knowing about thousands of disease-related genes, we finally have the tools to crack the underlying mechanisms. By understanding how the body changes unhealthy white fat cells to healthy beige cells, we can start to develop new treatments for obesity.
This work also emphasises that the billions of dollars spent on the Human Genome Project and its spinoffs such as ENCODE andEpigenetics Roadmap have not been wasted. But we have redefined the parameters of success.
We know now that identifying genes for the most common diseases is actually pretty useless for prediction or diagnosis. Knowing all the 100 identified obesity genes only explains less than 5% of the genetic effect in an individual. Emerging fields such as epigenetics, metabolomics, or microbiomics or the old fashioned way of looking at the health of your parents are much better for personalized medicine.
But if you want to understand how to design a badly-needed drug for obesity, gene-based studies like this are the key. Full-scale research could start on drugs that increase the relative production of beige and brown fat. Hopefully, trials could be underway in humans within a decade.

Popular posts from this blog

Hidden Wiki

Welcome to The Hidden WikiNew hidden wiki url 2015 http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion Add it to bookmarks and spread it!!!
Editor's picks Bored? Pick a random page from the article index and replace one of these slots with it.
The Matrix - Very nice to read. How to Exit the Matrix - Learn how to Protect yourself and your rights, online and off. Verifying PGP signatures - A short and simple how-to guide. In Praise Of Hawala - Anonymous informal value transfer system. Volunteer Here are five different things that you can help us out with.
Plunder other hidden service lists for links and place them here! File the SnapBBSIndex links wherever they go. Set external links to HTTPS where available, good certificate, and same content. Care to start recording onionland's history? Check out Onionland's Museum Perform Dead Services Duties. Introduction PointsAhmia.fi - Clearnet search engine for Tor Hidden Services (allows you to add new sites to its database). DuckDuckGo - A Hidden S…

[SOLVED] IDM WAS REGISTERED WITH A FAKE SERIAL NUMBER

[SOLVED] IDM WAS REGISTERED WITH A FAKE SERIAL NUMBER
Good News [May 08, 2015]: IDM developers got smarter, but the crackers are always a step ahead. Follow this article and send an email to uglyduckblog@gmail.com if you are desperate. I can NOT post any crack here for legal reasons. Happy Downloading with IDM. ;) *********** first tip is to use latest crack for idm from  onhax.net idm universal web crack and make sure u are using all latest vers I am sure many of us are too much dependent on Internet Download Manager a.k.a. IDM. The main reason didn’t permanently switch to linux was IDM. I mainly use it for batch downloading and download streaming videos. Till yesterday, IDM was working fine with me (of course with fake serial numbers, keygen, crack, patch etc. which could be found with little effort). But few days ago, with the latest update version 6.18 build 7 (released on Nov 09, 2013) Internet Download Manager was literally had a breakthrough and crushed all the serial numbers, …

Mouse, touchpad, and keyboard problems in Windows

Mouse, touchpad, and keyboard problems in Windows Introduction This tutorial is designed to help you identify and fix common mouse, touchpad, and keyboard problems in Windows. It doesn't cover device problems related to specific programs. Mouse, touchpad, and keyboard problems can have a number of causes: Cables that aren't connected properly Incorrect device settings Missing updates Corrupted or incompatible drivers Hardware problems Check hardware Many mouse, touchpad, and keyboard problems are caused by hardware that isn't set up properly. Here's some information about how to check your device, make sure cables are connected properly, make sure the hardware has power, and check the settings. Make sure cables are connected properly Check that all cables are plugged in to the correct locations. This can include mouse and keyboard, PS2 and USB cables, and, in some cases, external USB touchpad cables. Disconnect USB cables and wait for a short time for the device drive…