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Brain gene is tied to obesity

10:34am, January 7, 2004

Researchers studying the DNA of people in Finland and Sweden have amassed evidence that a gene involved in brain chemistry influences whether a person is thin or fat.

Few specific genes have been convincingly linked to human obesity. A research team headed by Päivi Pajukanta of the University of California, Los Angeles now points the finger at one called solute carrier family 6 member 14 (SLC6A14).

The investigators originally studied obese and thin siblings within a group of Finnish families.

They found evidence that a region on the X chromosome might account for some of the weight differences. Within that region were several genes, including SLC6A14.

In the Dec. 1, 2003 Journal of Clinical Investigation, the researchers describe what they learned from a closer look at the gene in about 1,000 obese Finlanders and Swedes and a similar number of nonobese peers. The investigators identified a subtle mutation that create

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