Newly Born Baby

Getting acquainted with the genetic basis of childhood obesity could be crucial in putting forth the step towards its prevention. On the same lines, scientists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have stumbled upon 2 gene variants that are correlated with increased risk of obesity in childhood.

For the trial, almost 5,530 instances of childhood obesity were pitted against 8,300 controls. After an extensive analysis, the investigators found 2 genetic variants associated with childhood obesity, one of which was placed on the chromosome 13 alongside the OLFM4 gene. The second locus was present on chromosome 17 near the HOXB5 gene.

Overall 4 genetic variants surfaced out with regards to obesity, which were never linked to the condition previously. Three of them apparently played a role in the intestine, though their exact function in regulating obesity levels is not clear at present.

“This is the largest-ever genome-wide study of common childhood obesity, in contrast to previous studies that have focused on more extreme forms of obesity primarily connected with rare disease syndromes,” commented lead investigator Struan F.A. Grant, Ph.D., associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

According to the analysts, this research could pave the path to new ways of discovering the genetics of childhood obesity. Although further trials are required, the revelations may help in designing therapeutic alternatives for children based on their genetic predisposition to obesity risk.

The report, titled ‘A genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies new childhood obesity loci’ is published in the April 8 issue of the journal, Nature.