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Recently discovered 'fat gene' may be controlled

New research by UK geneticists reveals that a 'fat gene' called FTO could help reduce obesity as well as Type 2 diabetes.

Findings suggest that the gene plays a huge part in controlling feelings of hunger and 'fullness', which subsequently affects how much we eat. With this new genetic knowledge, researchers are hopeful that a drug could be designed to alter the FTO gene and therefore reduce obesity.

Half of the UK population carries a single copy of the 'fat gene', and typically these people are 1.6 kilograms heavier than those who don’t. The 16 per cent of the population who have two copies of the FTO gene can be up to 3 kilograms heavier.

"Diabetes UK welcomes these important findings,” said Cathy Moulton, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.

"Although being overweight is a key risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, this research reminds us that it is also genetic condition.

But the good news is if we are able to tackle obesity though this new FTO gene, then we can also make real inroads to fighting Type 2 diabetes and hopefully reduce the number of people living with the condition."

The new research was reported in the online edition of ‘Science’ and was carried out by scientists at Oxford and Cambridge universities, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and Cancer Research UK.

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