Some morbidly obese people are missing a section of their DNA according to new research, which conjectures that such genetic problems could actually cause a propensity to obesity. “The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and ten other European Centres, say that missing DNA such as that identified in this research may be having a dramatic effect on some people's weight. According to the new findings, around seven in every thousand morbidly obese people are missing a part of their DNA, containing approximately 30 genes. The researchers did not find this kind of genetic variation in any normal weight people.
There are an estimated 700,000 morbidly obese people in England, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40. Researchers believe that the weight problems of around one in twenty morbidly obese people are due to known genetic variations, including mutations and missing DNA. Many more similar obesity-causing mutations, such as the one in this study, remain to be found, says the team. Previous research had identified several genetic variations that contribute to obesity, most of which are single mutations in a person's DNA that change the function of a gene. This new research is the first to clearly demonstrate that obesity in otherwise physically healthy individuals can be caused by a rare genetic variation in which a section of a person's DNA is missing.”