Navigation Links
Genetic studies reveal new causes of severe obesity in childhood

Scientists in Cambridge have discovered that the loss of a key segment of DNA can lead to severe childhood obesity. This is the first study to show that this kind of genetic alteration can cause obesity. The results are published today in Nature.

The study, led by Dr Sadaf Farooqi from the University of Cambridge and Dr Matt Hurles from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, looked at 300 children with severe obesity.

The team scanned each child's entire genome looking for types of mutation known as copy number variants (CNVs). CNVs are large chunks of DNA either duplicated or deleted from our genes. Scientists believe this type of mutation may play an important role in genetic diseases.

By looking for CNVs that were unique in children with severe obesity, compared with over 7,000 controls (apparently healthy volunteers from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2), they found that certain parts of the genome were missing in some patients with severe obesity.

According to Dr Farooqi: "We found that part of chromosome 16 can be deleted in some families, and that people with this deletion have severe obesity from a young age.

"Our results suggest that one particular gene on chromosome 16 called SH2B1 plays a key role in regulating weight and also in handling blood sugar levels. People with deletions involving this gene had a strong drive to eat and gained weight very easily."

Dr Matt Hurles adds: "This is the first evidence that copy number variants have been linked to a metabolic condition such as obesity. They are already known to cause other disorders such as autism and learning difficulties."

The findings also have implications for diagnosing severe childhood obesity, which has on occasion been misattributed to abuse. Some of the children in the study had been formally placed on the Social Services 'at risk' register on the assumption that the parents were deliberately overfeeding their children and causing their severe obesity. They have now been removed from the register.

"This study shows that severe obesity is a serious medical issue that deserves scientific investigation," says Dr Farooqi. "It adds to the growing weight of evidence that a wide range of genetic variants can produce a strong drive to eat. We hope that this will alter attitudes and practices amongst those with professional responsibility for the health and well-being of children."

Obesity is increasing throughout the world and is now recognised as a major global public health concern. Although the increased prevalence of obesity over the past 30 years is undoubtedly driven by environmental factors, genetic factors play a major role in determining why some people are more likely to gain weight than others.


Contact: Becky Allen
University of Cambridge

Related medicine news :

1. Many Parents Share Genetic Test Findings With Kids
2. Genetic predisposition increases childhood asthma risk
3. New Alzheimers findings: High stress and genetic risk factor lead to increased memory decline
4. Test Spots Genetic Damage Done by Smoking
5. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
6. Scientists highlight benefits of genetic research in sport, but warn of ethical concerns
7. Genetics Hold Promise, Challenges for Cancer Care
8. Researchers genetically engineer micro-organisms into tiny factories
9. Study Questions Genetic Screening for Treatable Diseases
10. Researchers provide genetic associations from a genome-wide scan for cardiovascular disease traits
11. Genetic variation affects smoking cessation treatment
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... second medical opinion process, participated in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The ... and took place Sunday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, ... ... online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with Women’s ... holistically address their reader’s queries on topics on mental and emotional well-being ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... more aggressive than those found on mammography, according to a study published online ... additional cancers not seen on mammography may necessitate a change in treatment. , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The ... perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the utmost importance. ... to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday season. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "2016 ... by Test, Country Volume and Sales Segment ... Emerging Opportunities" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "2016 Global ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nederland, November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie ... gevorderde kanker. ) ... -->      (Photo: ... het Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: