Obesity gene found

22:54, Jul 29 2009

A gene variant that is associated with alcohol and drug addiction has also been found to increase the risk of obesity.

An international research consortium involving 34 institutions has found that people who inherited gene variant NRXN3, active in the central nervous system, have a 10-15 per cent greater chance of being obese.

The data was compiled from eight studies involving genes and body weight, which included more than 31,000 people of European origin aged 45 to 76, with differing dietary habits and health levels.

The variant gene was discovered in 20 per cent of participants.

NRXN3 is one of three obesity-related genes to be discovered, all of which are related to the brain.

"Considering how many factors are involved in obesity, it is interesting that research is increasingly pointing to the brain as being very important in its development," says Dr Robert Kaplan from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, New York.