Master Gene Found That Drives Diabetes & Obesity

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By Kathleen Blanchard, RN for

One gene, passed from mothers to their children, controls cholesterol, obesity and related diseases.

King’s College London and the University of Oxford researchers have discovered the KLF14 is the single regulator of distant fat genes in the body that controls how other genes behave.

According to Tim Spector from the Department of Twin Research at King’s, who led the research, dubbed the MuTHER project, “This is the first major study that shows how small changes in one master regulator gene can cause a cascade of other metabolic effects in other genes.”

Spector says the finding opens the door for discovery of other master genes that lead to disease. Targeting the genetic culprit for obesity and other chronic diseases could change prevention and treatment approaches.

The gene is unique, say the scientists. Full sets of genes are passed from both parents, but in the case of the KLF14 gene, activity is inherited from the mother. The gene inherited from the father is inactive, and has no effect for contributing to the way fat genes behave to cause high cholesterol that leads to heart disease and obesity that contributes to type 2 diabetes.

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