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Video: Scientists Have Found A Possible "thinness Gene"
Scientists have found a possible "thinness gene"
The authors of the new study offered an original approach to studying the problem of excess weight. They turned not to the genetics of obesity, but to the genetic factor of thinness.
Photo: David Hofmann / Unsplash
Everyone has a friend who can eat anything, not exercise, but not gain weight. Perhaps new research, published in Cell, helps explain this phenomenon in part.
Scientists have found that certain mutations in the ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene) gene can help maintain a healthy weight.
Previously, changes in this gene were associated only with an increase in the risk of certain malignant tumors. Researchers have now found two variants of the ALK gene that are only found in thin people (those with a low body mass index), but not even found at normal weight. To do this, the authors of the study analyzed the DNA of more than 47 thousand people aged 20 to 44 years. They received the data from the Estonian biobank.
“Most scientists study obesity and the genetics of obesity. We just turned it around and studied thinness, opening up a new area of research,”said Josef Penninger
Scientists conducted a separate part of the study on animals. It turned out that mice with the ALK gene turned off, the weight and amount of body fat are below average, even when overfeeding.
Scientists have not conducted experiments on humans that prove the role of the gene in maintaining thinness. Therefore, it is currently possible to claim that certain variants of the ALK gene are associated with low weight, but it cannot be stated that they are the cause of it.
Scientists report that this gene is highly expressed in the brain and is associated with the regulation of body fat.
The study authors point out that it is theoretically possible to use the ALK gene deactivation to prevent or treat obesity. In the treatment of cancer, drugs that suppress it are already being used.