Here’s the skinny on thinness: For some, it’s genetic.
Scientists have identified a skinny gene which predisposes some to staying lean no matter their lifestyle.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, a group of international authors released their findings that individuals with certain variations in a gene known as ALK are physically more resistant to weight gain than most.
“We all know these people: It’s around 1% of the population,” says senior author and University of British Columbia medical genetics professor Josef Penninger in a press release. “They can eat whatever they want and be metabolically healthy.
Now, though, researchers believe some mutations in ALK might be involved in weight gain and could be targeted to fight obesity.
“If you think about it, it’s realistic that we could shut down ALK and reduce ALK function to see if we did stay skinny,” says Penninger.
Testing the theory in mice and flies, researchers found that the critters and insects were made resistant to diet-induced obesity when their ALK gene was deleted.
The approach is a novel one in the field of weight gain, where far more studies focus on the causes of obesity, not thinness?
“Everybody studies obesity and the genetics of obesity,” says Penninger
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