Scientists identified THSD7A gene as primarily responsible for obesity in Indians

Aug 25, 2015 11:07 IST

Scientists belonging to various research organizations in India identified THSD7A as primarily responsible for obesity in Indians.

The research was published in the International Journal of Obesity in the first week of August 2015. It was led by the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

Focus of the study

India inhabited by the first out-of-Africa human population. Moreover, contemporary Indian populations are admixture of 2 ancestors: ANI (ancestral north Indians) and ASI (ancestral south Indians). While ANI is related to Europeans, ASI is not related to any group outside Indian-subcontinent.

The present research was aimed at finding novel genetic loci associated with Body Mass Index (BMI). As part of the research scientists discovered that rs1526538, an intronic SNP of THSD7A is significantly associated with obesity.

About THSD7A gene

THSD7A is neural N-glycoprotein, which promotes angiogenesis and angiogenesis in turn modulates obesity, adipose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

The gene is present in everyone. But when there is a mutation to the gene, there is a likelihood that the person carrying the mutated gene will end up being obese.

However, the gene mutation is not found in all obese people. Similarly, the gene mutation was also found in very small number of underweight people. That is because obesity is a multigenic condition.

Further, there is a possibility that the SNP marker of THSD7A may be associated with obesity in other South Asian population.

Importance of the study

The discovery is of particular importance as scientists will help in drug target, early detection of obesity and treatment. It is also pertinent to note that obesity linked health risks such as cardio vascular have been on rise in the country in recent times.

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