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Discovery of genetic variants that protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes could lead to new weight loss medicines
In this genetic study published in the journal Cell, a research team led by Professor Nick Wareham and Dr Claudia Langenberg at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, and Professor Sadaf Farooqi at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, has shown that genetic variants in the MC4R gene that increase the activity of this brain receptor can protect people from becoming overweight.
The team looked at the MC4R gene in half a million volunteers from the UK population who have taken part in the UK Biobank, finding 61 distinct naturally-occurring genetic variants. While some of these genetic variants predisposed people to become obese, other variants provided protection against obesity and some of its major complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Genetic determinants of objective physical activity levels and fitness in the UK Biobank
Physical activity is an important determinant of general health. Furthermore, family studies have suggested that physical activity levels are heritable likely to have a significant genetic component. Furthermore, muscular strength is also an important parameter of health, particularly in ageing. It also has a significant genetic component, which remains poorly characterised to date. Thus, understanding the genetic aetiology of physical activity levels and muscular strength is an important step in understanding the aetiology of disease and physical function during ageing. Physical activity levels and strength are important determinants of health. The biological inferences that can be gained from human genetic discovery efforts will support future translational research. We will investigate genetic differences that are associated with variation in physical activity levels and in muscular strength. We can then use this information to understand the role of these genes in the causes of diseases and mortality. Full cohort