Research backs up previous claims that the FTO gene, dubbed by some as the ‘greedy gene’, plays a part in metabolism and weight gain, and therefore can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes .
Studies were carried out on mice to scientifically observe how genetic variations in the FTO gene affected their weight . Some of the mice had their genes modified to lack the FTO gene, whereas another group were un-modified.
The results gave clear indications that the mice, in which the gene was lacking, put on less body weight than the mice who had the FTO gene present. Female mice without the gene had 23% less body fat than their normal female mice counterparts, and the modified male mice had 60% less body fat than the normal male mice.
Each set of mice consumed the same diet and the same amount of food. The mice lacking the FTO not only had less body fat but had grown to be shorter and were found to be less physically active than the normal mice. They also tended to generate more body heat than the normal mice which helps to explain how they put on less weight.
The research gives further understanding of how this gene behaves. It is hoped that the research could pave the way for future treatments which could help to control the activity of the gene in humans. However, the research is still only at a very early stage.

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