A new book edited by a Children’s Hospital investigator examines the role genetic variants play in causing or raising the risk of obesity. The Genetics of Obesity is a comprehensive “review of efforts aimed at uncovering genetic variants associated with obesity,” and discusses the history of obesity research as well as recent breakthroughs.
In his role as the book’s editor, Struan F.A. Grant, PhD, associate director of the Center for Applied Genomics, brought together contributors from institutions in the United States, U.K., France, and Germany. The authors’ affiliations include the Broad Institute, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Lille Pasteur Institute, Heinrich Heine University, the University of Michigan, Imperial College London, and the University of Cambridge’s Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science.
The Genetics of Obesity features chapters on genetic obesity syndromes, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of obesity, and the relation of genetic pleiotropies — or when genes cause multiple physical effects — to obesity. The opening chapter, which outlines the lead up to genome-wide genetic approaches, was written by Children’s Hospital’s Shana E. McCormack, MD. And for his part, Dr. Grant contributed a chapter titled “Genetics of Childhood Obesity,” in which he discusses efforts to understand “the genetic architecture of childhood obesity.”
“There is now clear evidence that genetics plays a role in the risk of presenting with obesity, and the areas covered in this book outline the progress that has been made in defining what genomic factors have been characterized to date,” Dr. Grant said.
A significant portion of Dr. Grant’s research has been related to obesity and metabolic diseases. Last year, he led a study published in Nature Genetics that discovered two new gene variants that increase the risk of common childhood obesity, and earlier this year he co-lead a study on the genetics of birth weight and co-authored studies that discovered new loci associated with body mass index and body fat distribution in adults of African ancestry. Recently, he has also been working to better understand the genetic links between type 2 diabetes (which is often associated with obesity) and cancer.
To learn more about The Genetic of Obesity, see the publisher’s website.