Gastric band: 'Master switch' gene found for obesity and diabetes

16th May 2011

People who are considering undergoing surgery for a gastric band may be interested to hear that researchers have discovered a master regulator gene which controls the behaviour of other genes in body fat.

Scientists at the University of Oxford and King's College London found that a gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol could in fact be targeted for future treatments in fighting obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which are all affected by fat.

Over 2,000 genes were examined in the experiment, which involved 800 UK female twin volunteers. Researchers found an association between the KLF14 gene and the expression levels of multiple distant genes found in fat tissue, which means it acts as a master switch to control these genes.

Professor Tim Spector, who led the study, said: "This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of metabolic effects in other genes."

One in ten adults in the UK is currently classed as obese, and the number is rising, experts have said.

Posted By Jeanette Royston

1. Spector, Tim." Identification of an imprinted master trans regulator at the KLF14 locus related to multiple metabolic phenotypes." Nature Genetics. 15th May 2011.
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