The researchers from Duke University in the US have discovered a gene responsible for age-related obesity and diabetes. Thus, they indirectly confirmed the validity of the belief that people get fat not because of fatty meals, but with age.
Almost everyone gains weight with age, but some people should blame the genes rather than their diet. US researchers have shown that two different mutations in the gene called ankyrin-B will cause the cells to absorb sugar, which leads to their thickening and the development of diabetes associated with obesity.
Nearly a million of the Americans experience graver varieties of the two mutations, called R1788W. Moderate mutation called L1622I is spread among 7% of African Americans, which corresponds to the distribution of sickle-cell anemia.
This discovery, made in the course of experiments on mice, may help to identify people at risk who have to treat their own diet with extreme caution, measure their weight more often and pay more attention to physical exercise. Scientists say that they have received one of the first examples of the so-called vulnerability gene that has clearly manifested itself only due to the modern way of life.
The obesity epidemic started in the 1980s with the rise of fizzy drinks and French fries in popularity. During this period, there were no sudden genetic changes in a person, but the vulnerability gene carriers simply accelerated weight gain due to unhealthy eating habits. The study authors believe that their findings are only the beginning; in the future, they will be able to find many similar genes.