Many believe obesity is attributed to simply the overconsumption of unhealthy foods and lack of exercise. However, a recent study done by the Research Triangle, at Duke University, shows there may be a gene contributing to those who are obese, predetermining weight gain, in humans. The gene is called Ankyrin-B, and it is carried by millions of Americans.
Originally discovered by Dr. Vann Bennet, more than thirty years ago, was recently reopened for research, by an MD/PhD student, Jane Healey. She created an experiment, using mice carrying variants of the Ankyrin-B gene. It was found that the mice carrying the gene stored their calories in their fat tissue, instead of using it, as a form of energy; using fat as a source of energy is what those not carrying the gene do. Even with regular exercise and a healthy diet, the mice’s gained weight, with their fat cells doubling in size.
This experiment showed that the abnormal accumulation of fat in the mice’s tissues were a marker for type II diabetes. By eliminating the Ankyrin-B gene, glucose could normally flow into cells, without storing it in tissues. In the future, this study can be used to predetermine those at risk for type II Diabetes and those at risk to gain weight. Additionally, this study shows that some individuals are just prone to gaining weight. Some people may have a difficult time losing weight, because they may be carrying a gene they did not know they had.