A study published in the journal Nature has linked a region of chromosome 16 to the tendency to suffer from obesity or low weight. The study had the participation of Dr. Fernando Fernandez Aranda and Dr. Susana Jimenez, physicians of the Psychiatry Department of our hospital and researchers of the research group of Psychiatry and Mental Health of IDIBELL and the Biomedical Research Centre Network of Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn).

Morbid Obesity and low weight are genetically related

The work was coordinated by Alexander Raymond and Jacques Beckman, from the regional hospital of Lausanne, in Switzerland, and has had the participation of five centers in Spain: the Girona Biomedical Research Institute, the Center for Genomic Regulation, the Rovira i Virgili University, Hospital Virgen de la Victoria in Malaga, and IDIBELL.

The authors had already published in an earlier work that the withdrawal of the region 16p11.2, chromosome 16, increases by 43 times the likelihood of morbid obesity. Now, researchers have found that duplication of this region causes the opposite effect: the carriers of this genetic alteration are more than eight times more likely to suffer from low weight.

Babies born with this genetic alteration have a significantly lower weight than normal, growth problems, a smaller head size and are more likely to suffer psychological and neurocognitive disorders. Other studies had already linked alterations in the same position on chromosome 16 to several cognitive disorders such as autism (deletion of the region) and schizophrenia (duplication).

The research has included more than 95,000 people and had the collaboration of over a hundred research centers around the world.

September 2011

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