Researchers have identified a "foraging" gene that could play a very important role in making humans obese or lean.
Researchers have identified a “foraging” gene that could play a very important role in making humans obese or lean. This gene may be involved in the coordination of roles in traits important for feeding and obesity. “What our study does is it nails the gene for being very important for the traits of moving, feeding and fat storage,” said Marla Sokolowski, Professor at University of Toronto in Canada.
In a study, published online in the journal Genetics, the researchers detailed that in nature, fruit flies called “rovers” with high amounts of the gene tend to move a lot, eat very little and stay lean, while flies with low amounts of the gene called “sitters” are the opposite.
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The foraging gene encodes a cell signalling molecule called a cGMP dependent protein kinase.The same could apply to obesity in humans, the researchers said.
“When we say the foraging gene is the same, what we’re saying is that when you look at the DNA sequences of the human and the fly there is a lot of similarity, enough that you can see it’s the fly version of the gene that the human has,” Sokolowski said.
“So you could imagine if you are a fly, preferences for sugar, the tendency to store a lot of fat and the tendency to move less could all be contributing to the likelihood of being more obese if you have low levels of this gene, or to be leaner if you have higher levels,” Sokolowski explained.