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.”