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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340841

Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The genetics of obesity.

item FRAZIER-WOOD, ALEXIS - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item WANG, ZHE - University Of Texas Health Science Center

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2015
Publication Date: 1/5/2016
Citation: Frazier-Wood, A.C., Wang, Z. 2016. The genetics of obesity. In: Ahima, R.S., editor. Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Textbook. Springer International Publishing. p. 123-140.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: All definitions of the metabolic syndrome include some form of obesity as one of the possible features. Body mass index (BMI) has a known genetic component, currently estimated to account for about 70% of the population variance in weight status for non-syndromal obesity. Much research effort has been expended in trying to identify the specific genes which contain polymorphisms that account for individual differences in BMI. The largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date confirmed and identified almost 100 genes where variation contributes to BMI in individuals of European ancestry. This GWAS validated numerous variants which give insights into the pathophysiology of obesity centering on altered glucose and lipid metabolism and differences in adipocyte formation. The most novel contribution was identifying numerous genes expressed in the brain, which likely have behavioral consequences. This fits well with contemporary work showing that eating behaviors are a key, heritable contribution to common obesity. Future work will expand this putative gene list and continue to give insights into the etiology of common obesity which may one day contribute to individualized risk profiles and treatment options.