Largest genome wide study finds genetic link to obesity

There may be a genetic reason that some people have the tendency to put on weight, according to findings from the largest genome wide study, published in Nature.

The GIANT research project, which aims to identify genes that regulate human body and size, analyzed genetic samples for more than 50,000 individuals. Researchers also investigated the genetic basis of body mass index in up to 339,224 individuals.

Across the genome, they found 97 sites associated with obesity, which is triple the number of previously known regions. The analyses of genetic links to BMI indicate that the central nervous system has a role in obesity susceptibility.

Additionally, in a companion study, an analysis of 224,459 individuals helped identify 49 sites in the genome associated with waist-to-hip ratio — a measure of body fat distribution.

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