Genetics Linked to Raised Risk of Childhood
THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Gene variants that
increase the risk of childhood obesity have been identified by U.S.
The study authors analyzed the genomes of thousands of obese
children and a control group of lean children for copy number
variations (CNVs), which are deletions or duplications in DNA
sequences. The CNVs they found are rare within the general
population, but people with such variants are at very high risk of
becoming obese, they reported.
"We found CNVs that were exclusive to obese children across two ethnicities -- European American and African Americans," study leader Struan F.A. Grant, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics (CAG) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a hospital news release.
Of the 17 CNVs the investigators found in obese European
American children, eight also occurred in obese African American
"Because many gene variants have different frequencies in different ethnic groups, detecting these same CNVs in both groups, exclusively in obese subjects, strengthens the probability that these CNVs play a genuine role in the development of obesity," co-study leader Dr. Hakon Hakonarson, director of the CAG, said in the news release.
While the findings don't have immediate applications in
diagnosis and treatment, they do add to evidence that genes
contribute to childhood obesity, the study authors noted.
The study findings are published in the Oct. 14 online edition
American Journal of Human Genetics.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
overweight and obesity in children.
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