A Novel Inherited Form of Diabetes and Obesity Discovered

Scientists at the Imperial College London have identified a genetic link to obesity and diabetes in an extremely obese woman and her family members.

Scientists at the Imperial College London have identified a genetic link to obesity and diabetes in an extremely obese woman and her family members. The results have led the scientists to believe that obesity can be inherited.

On sequencing the DNA of this woman and her family, researchers discovered that a homozygous deletion prevented her body from synthesizing the protein carboxypeptidase-E (CPE). CPE is important in the proper processing of a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate appetite, insulin, and other hormones important in the reproductive system, and lack of expression resulted in the woman being obese, suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus, and intellectually challenged.

Professor Alex Blakemore, lead author on the study that was published in the journal PLOS One, said: "There are now an increasing number of single-gene causes of obesity and diabetes known. We don't know how many more have yet to be discovered, or what proportion of the severely obese people in our population have these diseases - it is not possible to tell just by looking."

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