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The fat gene

A team from the Cambridge, Oxford and other universities has tracked more than a dozen genes that determine whether we store fat around our waists or across our thighs and bottoms.

fashion and trends Updated: Oct 21, 2010 01:42 IST

A team from the Cambridge, Oxford and other universities has tracked more than a dozen genes that determine whether we store fat around our waists or across our thighs and bottoms.



Working out why fat settles where it does could lead to more effective diet pills that would help millions shed unwanted pounds from their bellies, according to the journal Nature Genetics.



Scientists scrutinised data from 32 previous studies involving almost 80,000 people for clues to the genetics of body shape.



They pinpointed 14 genetic patterns associated with waist-to-hip ratio, 13 of which were new. Seven have much stronger effect in women than in men, suggesting they may underlie some of the normal difference in fat distribution between the sexes.



“By finding genes that have an important role in influencing fat distribution and the ways in which that differs between men and women, we hope to home in on the crucial underlying biological processes,” says Cecilia Lindgren of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford.