A study of 90,000 people has uncovered new genetic variants that influence fat mass, weight and risk of obesity. The variants act in addition to the recently described variants of the FTO gene: on average, adults carrying variants in both genes are 3.8 kg (or 8.5 lb) heavier.
The researchers say that their work reinforces the view that not all people will find it equally easy to control their weight, and that these differences are in part genetic.
The research was a massive undertaking that uncovered genetic variants near a gene called MC4R.
“By working together with many international groups we have been able to assemble a sample collection which was large enough to allow this finding to be made,” explains Dr Ruth Loos, leading author from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit. “It is only through this collaboration that we have been able to uncover common variants in MC4R that affect many people.”
The study, published in Nature Genetics, is led by investigators from the Cambridge GEM consortium (Genetics of Energy Metabolism) and Oxford University and other institutions from the UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Finland and Sweden.
Source: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK