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Meet your genetic master of fat
May 17th, 2011
04:59 PM ET

Meet your genetic master of fat

One gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol may act as a "master regulator" gene that controls how fat works in the body, according to a study published in Nature Genetics.

Scientists had known that the KLF14 gene is linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol but didn’t know what role it played in controlling other genes.  KLF14 gene is inherited from the mother.

The researchers from King’s College London and University of Oxford say that the study indicates that one master gene can cause a “cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes” linked to obesity, HDL cholesterol, insulin and glucose levels.  They believe KLF14, thereby “acts as a master switch.” They examined 20,000 genes in 800 female twins to determine that association.

The findings mean that the  KLF14 gene could become the possible target for treatment efforts to fight against diseases related to metabolism and obesity.

In a press release, a co-author of the study, Mark McCarthy from the University of Oxford, said: "KLF14 seems to act as a master switch controlling processes that connect changes in the behavior of subcutaneous fat to disturbances in muscle and liver that contribute to diabetes and other conditions. We are working hard right now to understand these processes and how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions."


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