Genetic links exist for numerous disease states, obesity being one of them. Researchers from the University of North Carolina Health Care System have identified that a mutation of the gene ankyrin-B may cause people to gain weight regardless of their diets. The research showed that this gene increases the amount of glucose taken in by fat cells. Vann Bennet, MD, PhD describes the effect of this gene as “fault-free obesity.” The study involved either eliminating or mutating ankyrin-B within mice, which caused Glut-4’s (the proteins that help bring glucose into fat cells) to take in glucose more quickly than normal. Another interesting point to note was that the mice with the eliminated or mutated gene still seemed to gain weight without increasing their caloric intake. The hypothesis as to why this gene exists in the first place is that our ancestors needed this gene in times of famine to help maintain energy stores. Now that the food supply is readily available to most, this gene may actually be one of the main contributors to the obesity epidemic. These findings could help identify individuals at risk for obesity in the future, but further research needs to be done before they identify this gene as an actual risk factor for obesity.
Find the full research at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115152725.htm.