'Greedy' Gene Discovery Could Revolutionise Dieting

15/11/2010 10:24 | Updated 22 May 2015

Overeating could be in your genesOvereating could be in your genes. Photo: Flickr, TheCulinaryGeek

Is obesity caused by your genes? It's a debate that has stepped up a notch with a new discovery by Oxford University researchers, who claim to have found a new link between a gene called FTO and increased body weight. And if the scientists are correct, it could lead the way to innovative new anti-obesity treatments.

The expert claim that having a flawed copy of the FTO gene - which was discovered in 2007 - could make you eat more and put on more weight than those who have a normal FTO gene. And that, they say, could include around 14 heavier. Male mice with the flawed gene ended up 10% heavier.

Published in the journal Nature Genetics, the study suggests some people may well have a genetic predisposition to gaining weight, And if the researchers can get to the bottom of how the flawed gene works, they could develop drugs to treat it.

That there may be a genetic reason for why some people put on weight while others don't has divided public opinion in recent years. But thanks to ongoing scientific advances the argument is slowly tipping in favour of obesity being hereditary, if not for all the quite possibly for some. For instance, researchers recently suggested that your body shape is largely down to your genes.

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