The answer can be found in obese people. Obesity has always existed in humans. The question has been rather if it is genetic or if it is a person's lifestyle choices. Obesity has affected my friends, family, and at times myself and even when people make the right health choices they still seem to struggle with it. Millions of people battle with obesity and it is imperative to find the root cause of it. We are aware that our genetic makeup determines our traits and contributes to our health. So is obesity a genetic predisposition or is it a result of processed foods and lack of exercise? There are certainly environmental factors in obesity but overall it is genetic.
“As early as in 2007 researchers identified the first 'obesity gene' known as the FTO gene (Fat mass and obesity-associated protein) but after having studied the FTO genes for six years, they are still not sure how this gene variant affects obesity. They do, however, know that people with FTO have an increased risk of obesity.” (Sjorgen, 2013) In the research conducted by the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Fredricksberg Hospital researchers found that when one of the components of DNA ( adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) has been replaced by another it causes the gene to behave differently. This causes the predisposition for the gene of obesity. These researchers believe the solution to genetic obesity will be found within the next ten years.
When researching the relation between obesity and genes, researchers often question if it is one gene or influenced by many genes. In the research that discovered the FTO gene it would appear that obesity is linked to one gene. Variation of the FTO gene affects one in six of the population. Individuals with the FTO gene are 70% more likely to be obese. In a study conducted at the University College London Hospitals, participants were compared to each other with one group having two copies of the FTO variant and the other group having the low risk variant. The
Genetic Predisposition to Obesity 3
researchers studied the rate of hunger after meals and how the brain responded to images of high
calorie meals. In conclusion of the study researchers found that participants with the dominant variant of the FTO gene found the high-calorie pictures more appealing than the participants that did not. When the scientists examined the dominant FTO gene they found that the makeup for the ghrelin (hunger-stimulating peptide) m RNA had been altered. This leads to higher levels of ghrelin which affects an individual's hunger. Dr. Rachel Batterham who led the study stated “Individuals with two copies of the obesity-risk FTO variant are biologically programmed to eat more. Not only do these people have higher ghrelin levels and therefore feel hungrier, their brains respond differently to ghrelin and to pictures of food- it's a double hit.” (“How Obesity Gene Triggers Weight Gain” n.d., 2013). This study indicates that there is...