Health Watch — Obesity Research: The Skinny Gene

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


As doctors continue to worry about the epidemic of obesity in the United States, researchers are studying the biology and effects of obesity and diseases related to it. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about some of this research.

When you’re struggling to get into your skinny jeans, do you ever wonder if there’s a skinny gene? Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say there is a single gene that appears to regulate how much fat an individual will gain. Dr. Jonathan Graff, a UT Southwestern developmental biologist, says this finding could explain why some people gain weight easily when others don’t, and the knowledge could help in finding treatments for obesity and diabetes. The gene works at different levels in each individual, allowing for a range of body types. The next step for researchers is to study exactly how the gene affects body weight so medical treatments can be developed.       


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September 2007

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