Without a doubt, obesity is a global problem that leads to several other major health conditions. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, nearly 69% of adults are obese. However, fat accumulation is crucial for the survival of hibernating mammals in winter.
Hibernation is a unique quirk of mammals that enables them to pack on massive weight. This is imperative for their survival. When these animals remerge, they are healthy and fit.
According to a new study, hibernating animals and humans have potential master switches for controlling obesity. The information discovered hints that genetic factors might lead to metabolic disorders and obesity.
In this post, we have talked about this new solution that can provide a better understanding and treatment of metabolic diseases and obesity.
The factors that lead to obesity are complicated. In the previous studies, it was discovered that 250 parts of the genome and 123 genes are linked with getting obese. One of the strongest genetic risk factors that increase obesity is Fat Mass and Obesity (FTO).
Recently, a group of experts from the University of Utah studied the DNA sequences in people suffering from Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and hibernating mammals. The aim of this study was to explain the biological rule for having a better understanding of metabolic disorders and obesity.
Christopher Gregg, a co-author of the study, mentioned that hibernating animals have an excellent capability of controlling metabolism. He believes if they focus on the genome that is associated with hibernation, they might be able to control the risk of some of the diseases. The metabolism shapes can increase the risk of several diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
In this study, the researchers assessed and compared the genome of popular hibernators including Madagascar hedgehog tenrec, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, gray mouse lemur, and little brown bat. The result of the study showed that non-coding DNA sequences were found in all four species.
Moreover, the Parallel accelerated regions (pARs) are also found in the human genome. The pARs are situated near genes and are linked to obesity. Previously, the researchers also reported that pARs are related to the regulation of cancer and mutation resistance.
They also discovered that the crucial parts of the genome were hidden in the genome that doesn’t contain genes.
It was found that 51 genes related to PWS contained pARs. There were 364 genome sequences that had a huge role to play in the regulation of obesity. This is because they were found near obesity susceptibility genes. In addition, they also found that hibernators are capable of turning off their DNA sequences that control the activity of obesity genes.
To have a better understanding of how to control the risk of obesity in humans, there is a need to conduct more studies.
Therefore, obesity and metabolism increase the risk of plenty of health problems. The discovery of the parts of the gene is great as it set the foundation for many new researches.