New genes linked to obesity and overweight

An international study led by Swedish researchers has identified seven new genes linked to obesity.

More than 260,000 people with European origins were studied. Besides identifying new genes, the researchers also compared genetic factors that cause extreme obesity with those that are linked to the rest of the BMI (body mass index) range.

This showed that the genetic variations that can be liked to extreme obesity also exist for the much more common milder forms of excess weight.

Professor Erik Ingelsson of the Department of Medical Studies at Uppsala University, who coordinated the study, is quoted in a university press release:

“We know from experience that genetic factors are important for the emergence both milder and extreme forms of obesity. But how much overlap there is between genes that are involved in extreme obesity and normal or slightly elevated BMI has not been examined systematically previously.”

The study, which has been published in the latest issue of Nature Genetics, can lead to better medication and treatment of obesity in the future, the researchers believe.

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