New tool calculates genetic risk for obesity

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 11:00 in Health & Medicine

By analyzing millions of DNA variations in the human genome, researchers have developed a “polygenic score” for obesity, a quantitative tool that predicts an individual’s inherited risk for becoming overweight. The researchers found that a genetic predisposition to obesity begins to appear in early childhood and is often clearly evident by early adulthood — suggesting an opportunity for early intervention.  “We’ve known for a long time that some people are born with DNA predisposing them to obesity,” said first author Amit V. Khera, a clinician and member of the research faculty in the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomic Medicine and associated scientist at the Broad Institute. “Now, we can quantify those differences in a meaningful way, and potentially explore new routes for achieving better health.” In addition to Khera, the research team was co-led by Mark Chaffin and Sekar Kathiresan of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),...

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