Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Scientists identify gene linked to thinness that may help resist weight gain
In a study in the journal Cell, researchers use a genetic database of 47,000 individuals in Estonia to identify a gene linked to thinness that may play a role in resisting weight gain in metabolic healthy thin people.
Genetic variants in the ALK gene unique to thin individuals were found when DNA samples and clinical data of healthy thin individuals were compares. ALK gene usually mutates in carious types of cancers, but it's role outside of cancer is unclear. Mice with deleted ALK had lower body weight and body fat. It was suggested that ALK plays a part in the brain by instructing fat tissues to burn more fat from food.
ALK inhibitors are used in cancer treatments. Shutting down or reducing function of ALK could help cure cancers and promote thinness. A limitation is that biobanks that collect biological medical data and tissue samples don't have a universal standard in data collection, so it makes comparability a challenge to confirm findings.