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Korean Research Team Finds New Obesity Gene

Posted March. 04, 2005 22:33,   


A research team in Korea has discovered a new obesity gene.

The Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced the results of joint research with Seoul National University Hospital and SNP Genetics Co. on March 4: the discovery of a new form of gene that seems to cause obesity.

The newly discovered obesity gene is the “TGFBI” gene, which exists in the fifth of the 23 pairs (including sex chromosomes) of chromosomes possessed by humans. Three of the 28 possible base sequences in this gene are related to obesity.

This gene has, until now, only been known to have a connection with abnormalities in the cornea of the eye, and this is the first time its relation with obesity has been revealed. The results of this study were published in the March issue of the international journal “Human Mutation.”

Researchers originally studied the TGFBI genes of 779 diabetics and 316 non-diabetics in order to examine its relation to diabetics. They were not able to validate this, but they discovered that a particular base sequence in this gene was closely related to the BMI (body mass index) and the waist-hip ratio instead.

Oh Bum-seok, a director at the National Genome Research Institute at KCDC said, “We can apply the results of this study to predict the genetic aspects of obesity and develop personalized medications.”

TK Sohn sohn@donga.com