Missing DNA can promote childhood obesity - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Missing DNA can promote childhood obesity

NEW YORK (AP) - British researchers believe some children get severely obese because they lack particular chunks of DNA, kicking their hunger into overdrive.

The researchers checked the DNA of 300 children who'd become very fat, on the order of 220 pounds by age 10. They found evidence that several rare DNA deletions may promote obesity.

One kind is found in less than 1 percent of about 1,200 severely obese children. The deletion on chromosome 16 apparently gives children a strong desire to eat by removing a gene that the brain needs to control appetite.

Researchers say their work has already been applied to the cases of four British children whose parents had been blamed for overfeeding them. The parents of two of the children are now off the hook with child welfare authorities, and the other two cases are under discussion.

The study is being reported online by the journal Nature. Nature: www.nature.com/nature

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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