The largest ever genome-wide study has identified two new gene variants that increase the risk of common childhood obesity. "We have definitively identified and characterized a genetic predisposition to common childhood obesity," said lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The analysis included 14 previous studies "encompassing 5,530 cases of childhood obesity and 8,300 control subjects, all of European ancestry," reports research-reporting service Newswise.
The study team identified two novel loci, or specific locations of a gene or DNA sequence on a chromosome. One is near the OLFM4 gene on Chromosome 13, the other in the HOXB5 gene on Chromosome 17. There was a degree of evidence for two other gene variants as well. "The known biology of three of the genes hints at a role of the intestine, although their precise functional role in obesity if currently unknown," Newswise reports. (Read more)