Sunday, February 22, 2009

From human genetics to biological insight   posted by p-ter @ 2/22/2009 11:20:00 AM

In 2007, SNPs in an intron of the gene FTO were reported to be associated with obesity. At the time, essentially nothing was known about the gene. A few months later, a group of biochemists proposed a role for the gene in demethylation of nucleic acids (RNA or DNA). This week, a group of mouse geneticists present an analysis of a knockout of the gene, and show that the knockouts are resistant to weight gain due to increased energy expenditure.

There's still quite a ways to go before the mechanism by which FTO contributes to weight variation in humans is understood (oddly enough, there's some evidence that the mechanism is through increased energy intake rather than expenditure), but people keep chipping away...

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