Not Only Size Matters: Genetic Megastudies Draw Out Distinctions Between Obesity and Waist-Hip Ratio

October 11, 2010

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, October 11, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — In two of
the largest metastudies of their kind to date, scientists from the GIANT
consortium, including deCODE as well as hundreds of academic institutions on
three continents, today report the discovery of eighteen new regions of the
human genome contributing to obesity and thirteen new regions influencing
waist-hip ratio (WHR). The studies bring together data on body mass index
(BMI, a measure of obesity), WHR (a measure of body fat distribution), and
detailed genotypic information, from more than a quarter of a million
participants from Europe, North America and Australia. The findings
demonstrate the effectiveness of collaborations such as GIANT for powering
studies large enough to detect lower-impact genetic factors for common traits
and diseases.

“To my mind, perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of these findings is that
it has indeed been possible to find so many loci for WHR that are independent
of BMI. Most of the BMI loci appear to affect central and neuronal processes
regulating satiety and appetite. By contrast, the WHR loci appear to be
involved in the development and distribution of adipose tissue. Thus, the
genetics seems to be pointing us to biological distinctions between two
components of the regulation of weight – how much we eat, and how and where
calories are stored as fat. Also intriguing, many of the WHR loci show a
significantly greater impact in women than in men, a distinction that is
stronger here than in any other disease or trait we have looked at. From a
health perspective, the distinctions drawn here between BMI and WHR are steps
towards better understanding the role of these two traits as risk factors for
a range of diseases,” said Kari Stefansson, deCODE CEO and a senior author on
the BMI study.

The papers, “Association analyses of 249,796 individuals reveal eighteen
new loci associated with body mass index,” and “Meta-analysis identifies 13
novel loci associated with waist-hip ratio and reveals sexual dimorphism in
the genetic basis of fat distribution,” are published online in Nature
Genetics at http://www.nature.com/ng and will appear in an upcoming print
edition of the journal.

About deCODE

Headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE genetics is a global leader
in analyzing and understanding the human genome. Using its unique expertise
and population resources, deCODE has discovered key genetic risk factors for
dozens of common diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer.
deCODE employs its capabilities to develop DNA-based tests and personal
genome scans to better understand individual risk and empower prevention. It
licenses its tests, intellectual property and analytical tools to partners,
and conducts genotyping, sequencing and data analysis for companies and
research institutions around the globe. Through its CLIA- and CAP-certified
laboratory deCODE offers DNA-based tests for gauging risk and empowering
prevention of common diseases, including deCODE Glaucoma(TM); deCODE T2(TM)
for type 2 diabetes; deCODE AF(TM) for atrial fibrillation and stroke; deCODE
MI(TM) for heart attack; deCODE ProstateCancer(TM); and deCODE BreastCancer,
for the common forms of breast cancer. Through its pioneering personal genome
analysis service deCODEme(TM), deCODE enables individuals to better
understand their risk of dozens of common diseases and to learn about their
ancestry and other traits. Visit us on the web at http://www.decode.com; at
http://www.decodediagnostics.com; at www.decodeme.com; and on our blog at


    Edward Farmer                    Gisli Arnason
    +354-863-1923                    +354-570-1825
    edward.farmer@decode.is          gisli.arnason@decode.is

SOURCE DeCODE Genetics Inc

Source: newswire

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