Childhood obesity genes identified

April 9, 2012 at 11:51 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, April 9 (UPI) -- An international genome-wide study involving thousands of cases identified at least two new gene variants linked to childhood obesity, a U.S. researcher says.

Lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and hospital colleagues Jonathan P. Bradfield, Dr. Hakon Hakonarson and Dr. Robert I. Berkowitz said the meta-analysis included 14 previous studies encompassing 5,530 cases of childhood obesity and 8,300 control subjects, all of European ancestry.

The study team identified two novel loci, one near the OLFM4 gene on chromosome 13, the other within the HOXB5 gene on chromosome 17, the study said.

The study published in the journal Nature Genetics also found a degree of evidence for two other gene variants and none of the genes were previously implicated in obesity.

"The known biology of three of the genes, hints at a role of the intestine, although their precise functional role in obesity is currently unknown," Grant said in a statement. "The Center for Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has recruited and genotyped the world's largest collection of DNA from children with common obesity, however, in order to have sufficient statistical power to detect novel genetic signals, we needed to form a large international consortium to combine results from similar data sets from around the world."

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