Genetic determinants of common obesity and their value in prediction.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
Best Practice & Research: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Impact Factor: 4.91). 04/2012; 26(2):211-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.beem.2011.11.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revolutionised the discovery of genes for common traits and diseases, including obesity-related traits. In less then four years time, 52 genetic loci were identified to be unequivocally associated with obesity-related traits. This vast success raised hope and expectations that genetic information would become soon an integral part of personalised medicine. However, these loci have only small effects on obesity-susceptibility and explain just a fraction of the total variance. As such, their accuracy to predict obesity is poor and not competitive with the predictive ability of traditional risk factors. Nevertheless, some of these loci are being used in commercially available personal genome tests to estimate individuals' lifetime risk of obesity. While proponents believe that personal genome profiling could have beneficial effects on behaviour, early reports do not support this hypothesis. To conclude, the most valuable contribution of GWAS-identified loci lies in their contribution to elucidating new physiological pathways that underlie obesity-susceptibility.

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