Morbidly obese ‘may have missing genes’

A small number of extremely overweight people may be missing the same chunk of genetic material, claim UK researchers.  The findings, published in the journal Nature, could offer clues to whether obesity can be “inherited” in some cases.  Imperial College London scientists found dozens of people – all severely obese – who lacked approximately the same 30 genes.  The gene “deletion” could not be found in people of normal weight.

While much of the “obesity epidemic” currently affecting most Western countries has been attributed to a move towards high-calorie foods and more sedentary lifestyles, scientists have found evidence that genes may play a significant role in influencing weight gain in some people. The latest study focused on the “morbidly obese”, who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40, and who are at the highest risk of health problems. There are an estimated 700,000 of these people in the UK.

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