“Master Switch” Gene for Obesity Discovered

Monday, May 16, 2011


With 129.6 million Americans, or 64% of the population overweight or obese, the news that scientists have found that a “master switch” gene that controls fat in the body couldn’t come at a more crucial time.

Discovered by British researchers — their findings published in the journal Nature Genetics says the regulating gene plays an important role in peoples’ susceptibility to metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The regulating gene could be target for drugs to treat obesity.

More than half a billion people, or one in 10 adults worldwide, are obese and the numbers have doubled since the 1980s as the obesity epidemic has spilled over from wealthy into poorer nations.

Scientists have already identified a gene called KLF14 linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels that seems to act as a master switch controlling the process that connects changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions.

Mark McCarthy from Britain’s Oxford University, and a researcher on the project says, “We are working hard to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions.”

This entry was posted in International News, News, Obesity, Science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “Master Switch” Gene for Obesity Discovered

  1. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Half the people in my family have heart disease and diabetes.

    I think this discovery has the potential to change everything we measure as “quality of life” and longevity. Interesting the Brits made the discovery. I guess US scientists are cash strapped because America is busy fighting three wars including the new one in Libya courtesy of Obama.

  2. Rachel says:

    My sister has type 2 Diabetes. She has to watch her weight and what she eats. She also takes medicine for it. So far, so good but I know she gets frustrated having to focus on it. For a young woman (she’s just 19), it isn’t something she wants to think about. I hope this discovery will one day help her. Maybe Americans will be able to travel to the UK for treatment?

  3. joost says:

    I can’t believe how overweight America is now. When I go the mall, or a sports event, everyone is fat. The strange thing to me is, ten years ago it was most middle aged and older people, now I see young people — teenagers, who are overweight. This portends serious health issues in 20 and 30 years. If this gene discovery can turn things around, then maybe there is hope for the current and future generations of people not only in the USA but globally.

  4. Brigadoon says:

    But you know what? America’s FDA won’t accept the British findings. The FDA will have to do their own studies delaying fat, cholesterol and diabetes treatment another 15 years. Then Big Pharma will be brought in for their cut of the action.

  5. Marcus Ybanez says:

    While I think some people are genetically predisposed to weight gain, I think the sad truth is, it still comes down to science: calories in, calories expended.

    Exercise sucks but there are ways to incorporate it into your life. Walking is a great, simple way to raise your metabolism. Walk the dog. Walk alone or with a friend. I love to swim but I have to pay a fee to use the pool. Just move. Movement of any type is a counterbalance to American’s sedentary lifestyle.

  6. Estacada says:

    A little fat is necessary. This is why I partially blame fat-free everything in the foods we eat for people gaining weight.

    You think it’s OK to eat the entire package of cookies or half-gallon of ice cream because it is labeled “Fat-Free.” When in fact, the desert still has calories. I’m guilty of this too. It comes down to portion control and not beating yourself up if you put on a few extra pounds in the winter. Your weight is not a reflection of your value as a person.

  7. Jim says:

    Hallelujah! That would be great to help shed some pounds!

  8. feminazi says:

    I’ve always suspected that genetically modified foods aren’t processed the same way by the human body and are stored as fat, further upsetting the metabolic chain. Food is energy and when you feed people Frankenstein food, the body doesn’t know what else to do with it, so it becomes fat.

  9. mauigirl says:

    Everyone knows at least one person who can eat anything they want and stay thin as a rail. It is gratifying to know that this really is something that is genetic and not in our control – sure, we can exercise, do portion control, substitute vegetables for fattening food. But the second you step off the wagon you gain back the weight – and then some. I wish my mom were still here so I could point to this study and say “See mom, it’s not really ALL my fault that I’m fat!” (My mom was always giving me the fisheye when I ate more than she thought I should, rest her soul! ;-))

  10. stradella says:

    Child, give me that pill! I’m tired from being tired of dieting!

  11. Josiah says:

    I think she is adorable…:)

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