Is it possible to put an end to the obesity epidemic? University of Virginia researchers discovered 17 genes that can cause or prevent obesity.
The researchers employed ‘Caenorhabditis elegans’ nematode worms, which share 70% of their DNA with humans, according to a study published in the journal PLOS Genetics.
According to the study, there are 14 genes that induce obesity and three that aid to prevent it. Surprisingly, scientists found that blocking the action of genes that inhibit weight gain resulted in the worms living longer.
Although some genetic combinations associated with obesity have been identified, it has yet to be established how genes play a role in the disease’s development.
“We believe that our approach and the new genes we’ve uncovered may hasten the development of treatments to minimize the burden of obesity,” said Eyleen O’Rourke, one of the study’s authors, who added that effective obesity treatment “is urgently needed” to alleviate both patients and health systems.
According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States (38.2 percent), Mexico (32.4 percent), and New Zealand have the highest rates of obesity among their populations (30.7 percent ).