According to a study published in the British journal Nature, British and French scientists have identified several variants of a single gene that boost the risk of obesity. Earlier research had shown that an extremely rare mutation in the same PCSK1 gene can, all by itself, lead to huge weight gains, making it known source of so-called "monogenetic" obesity.
A team led by Philippe Froguel of Imperial College London compared the genomes of 13,000 obese individuals of European ancestry to those of a normal control group, the researchers found three mutations in the gene that were far more common among those coping with excess weight.These same variants were also linked to increased risk of childhood obesity, as well as less extreme weight gain, the study found.
Standard to analyse the obesity is the body-mass index (BMI), defined as one’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of one’s height in meters. A BMI from 18.5 to 25 is considered in the healthy range, from 25 to 30 is overweight, and 30 or higher is obese.
The gene, PCSK1, produces an enzyme, called proconvertase 1, that plays a critical role in converting inactive forms of hormones that control appetite and regulate energy metabolism. These hormones include insulin and glucagon, involved in the metabolism of sugar and carbohydrates, as well as a third molecule that signals to the brain that one has eaten enough.
As it is well known knowledge now that obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes have gained epidemic proportions in many developed economies and developing countries. The causes are complex, and include sedentary lifestyle along with eating fat and sugary foods.
But a series of recent discoveries has come up with the results that genetics can also play a bigger role than previously thought. As Froguel said, "We all react differently to an environment that is becoming more and more similar, and the reason we react differently is in part genetic in origin. This gene is one cause among others".
However, till the time the scientific community agrees and give an approval to it, this will remain a research result and news to the press. Evidently all research and all research results do not help human society lessen their pain and agony.