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23andMe presents top 10 most interesting genetic findings of 2010
Date:1/12/2011

pear body shape in the mirror, take a closer look at your genetic variants. This fall, 23andMe reported on new research connecting common genetic variants with propensity towards apple- and pear- body shapes. A large analysis by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium investigated how genetics influence waist and hip size in nearly 200,000 people from more than 50 studies. Published in Nature Genetics, the report identified 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, or common genetic variants) 13 new and one previously reported associated with body fat distribution. These findings have health implications because "apples", whose weight concentrates around their middles, appear to be at greater risk for developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes than their pear counterparts.

In addition to the exciting new genetic associations, results from this study suggest that genetics play a more significant role in determining body fat distribution in women than in men. As with obesity and many other conditions with a strong environmental component, genes only account for a small piece of the puzzle underlying variability in body fat distribution. Even so, this study made an interesting observation: the variants associated with body fat distribution (measured by waist-hip-ratio) in their study subjects appeared to be mostly distinct from those variants associated with overall body fat content (measured by body mass index (BMI)). Since the location of body fat plays an important role in disease risk, a better understanding of the genetic risk factors underlying increased waist and hip size may lead to improved therapies or lifestyle recommendations. 23andMe customers are able to view data for nine variants associated with apple versus pear body shape from this study.

"SNPwatch: Apple or Pear? How Genes Help Shape Your Shape," Oct 19, 2010. The Spittoon.

Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
23andMe Inc.
Source:Eurekalert  

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