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Genetic link to obesity

Scientists claim to have found the most clear genetic link yet to obesity.

People with two copies of a particular gene variant have a 70 per cent higher risk of being obese than people with no copies. Those with one copy have a 30 per cent increased risk of obesity.

Because of the effect on Body Mass Index (BMI), carrying two copies of the variant of the FTO gene increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50 per cent and having one copy means the risk of Type 2 diabetes is increased by 25 per cent.

“Diabetes UK welcomes these important findings," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

"The discovery of a gene linked to obesity could open the door for new research into Type 2 diabetes.

“Although Type 2 diabetes can be genetic, being overweight is a leading factor in the development of the condition. If we can tackle obesity then we can make real in-roads to fighting Type 2 diabetes and reducing the number of people living with the condition.

“Even though obesity may be genetic, it is vital that people who are overweight eat a well balanced diet and take regular physical activity to reduce their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. It is important to note that obesity can not be attributed to genes in every case.

“Diabetes UK funded the original collection of samples at the beginning of this study. It is thanks to the collaborative efforts of Diabetes UK, a number of excellent international researchers and the Wellcome Trust that this discovery has been possible.”

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