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Genetic link to obesity reported

By Tim Sandle     May 3, 2016 in Science
Cambridge - Scientists have reported new research that suggests there is a genetic link to obesity — at least in some cases — based on recent studies using Labradors.
Whether there is a genetic link to obesity seems to be based on individuals, rather than something that relates to general population, the study suggests. The study is based on studies using Labradors, which have the reputation as being the greediest of dogs, capable of over-eating unless the food supply is controlled.
According to scientists at Cambridge University, Labradors are more greedy than any other breed of dog because of their genetic traits. However, within a general population some of the dogs are more greedy than others. Specifically one gene, known as POMC, is thought to be key for explaining this intra-dog difference; and this gene is pivotal in controlling how the brain recognizes hunger and the how the feeling of being full (or not) after eating is interpreted.
Based on the finding, the research group are raising the question: can this explain why some people are more prone to obesity than others? Here the lead researcher Dr. Eleanor Raffan told BBC Science: "Although obesity is the consequence of eating more than you need and more than you burn off in exercise, actually there's some real hard-wired biology behind our drive to eat."
The findings are published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The research paper is titled "A Deletion in the Canine POMC Gene Is Associated with Weight and Appetite in Obesity-Prone Labrador Retriever Dogs."
Care should be taken with the study. Whether there is a genetic link requires confirmation by other studies. Moreover, whether data pertaining to dogs can be translated into an understanding of people is not clear-cut. This also remains an area requiring further study.
More about Obesity, Fat, Weight, Laboratory, Dogs
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