Like many, I have always known that predisposition for obesity was related to genetics. However, I think the vast majority of people believe this is related to metabolism, which you often inherit from your parents. To find out that this may have little to do with genetic weight gain is very interesting. It makes me wonder if the mechanism of these appetite suppressor drugs for weight loss involves turning off the MC4R gene. It also raises the question over whether as many people would look down upon these appetite pills if they knew that there was a legit genetic reasoning behind the use of the pill.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Discovering the Gene for Appetite
A recent article published in the New York Times reveals that there is a gene that plays a role in appetite suppression and predisposition to obesity. A recent study has discovered that the MC4R gene plays a vital role in hunger regulation and the feeling of fullness. There are essentially three types of possible phenotypes for this gene. The normal phenotype would be a typical appetite that signals you to eat when hungry and stop eating when you've had the correct amount of food. There is a mutation in this MC4R gene that causes some people to have this gene turned off. This causes them to never feel full and they keep eating because they never receive a signal to stop. These are the people that are at a greater genetic disposition for obesity. However, there is also another alteration to this gene that causes it to be constantly turned on. This leads to affected individuals feeling full prematurely and, as a result, they do not eat as much or desire food as much as the formerly affected individuals. This leaves this group of mutants thin and less likely to develop diseases like diabetes and heart disease.