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Gene Hunters Fine-Tune Marker for Common Obesity Gene
Date:3/12/2008

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.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addi
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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