Genes Help Determine Whether You Are Shaped Like an Apple or Pear

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruth Loos, PhD The Charles Bronfman Professor in Personalized Medicine Director, Genetics of Obesity and Related Traits Program Co-Director, Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY

Dr. Loos


Ruth Loos, PhD
The Charles Bronfman Professor in Personalized Medicine
Director, Genetics of Obesity and Related Traits Program
Co-Director, Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Which type of body fat distribution carries greater risk of diabetes or other obesity-related health disorders?

Response: Obesity broadly consists of two component; [1] there is overall body size (assessed using BMI) and [2] there is fat distribution (assessed using WHR). Both are “heritable”, which mean that they are in part determined by our genome (and the other part is determined by our lifestyle).

Over the past 15 years, geneticists have used an approach to screen the whole genome of thousands of people to identify genetic variations that differ between e.g. obese people vs non-obese people.

We have applied this approach to both components of obesity and have found so far that genes for “overall body size” seem to act in the brain, likely controlling hunger, satiety, reward, etc., whereas the genes that determine where in the body the excess fat will be stored when you gain weight (i.e. fat distribution) seem to act more “locally” at the fat cell level itself, determining the storage and release of fat.  Continue reading