Major deCODE-led Study Underscores Role of the Brain in Obesity
News Dec 15, 2008
In one of the largest studies of its kind, a multinational team led by scientists from deCODE genetics reports the discovery of common variations at seven new sites in the human genome found to influence obesity.
The study analyzed more than 300,000 single-letter variations (SNPs) across the genome of more than 30,000 people from Iceland, the Netherlands, and the United States, and confirmed the findings in data from more than 40,000 individuals from Denmark and the US-based GIANT Consortium. deCODE is incorporating the novel SNPs on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 12 and 19 reported in its deCODEme™ personal genome analysis service, and subscribers will receive an update to their personal profiles.
The paper, entitled “Genome-wide association yields new sequence variants at seven loci that associate with measures of obesity,” is published in the online edition of Nature Genetics, and will appear in an upcoming print edition of the journal.
“This study essentially doubles in one fell swoop the number of known and replicated genetic factors contributing to obesity as a public health problem. And what we are seeing in obesity are a large number of common genetic risk factors with a relatively modest impact on disease. One of the most notable aspects of these discoveries is that most of these new risk factors are near genes that regulate processes in the brain. This suggests that as we work to develop better means of combating obesity, including using these discoveries as the first step in developing new drugs, we need to focus on the regulation of appetite at least as much as on the metabolic factors of how the body uses and stores energy,” said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE and senior author on the paper.
“Today’s findings also underscore our ability to employ our population-based resources and statistical knowhow in Iceland as a cornerstone of large-scale multinational collaborations to identify and replicate the inherited causes of the most complex phenotypes. These new variants may point to valuable new drug targets, and we are already integrating them into deCODEme.™ We look forward to expanding upon our productive collaboration with colleagues in the US and Europe to continue to increase our understanding of the biology that underlies obesity,” Dr. Stefansson added.
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