Guo also noted that the team was able to test for conditional associations within genes---independent signals from within the same gene locus. In particular, the researchers discovered that two genes, BDNF and MC4R, each harbor two independent signals for BMI. Both genes were among eight genes previously associated with BMI that the current study was able to replicate, including FTO, SH2B1 and COL4A3BP-HMGCR.
Guo concluded that "while the individual effects of each gene may be small, they may provide fundamental clues to the biology of adult obesity." He added that further studies will investigate gene-gene interactions for the same trait.
The Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was the analysis coordinating site of this study. Three of the Center's scientists were senior investigators of the study: Struan F. A. Grant, Ph.D.; Brendan J. Keating, Ph.D.; and Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D. All are on the faculty of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, supported this study."Gene-centric meta-analyses of 108,912 individuals confirm known body mass index loci and reveal three novel signals," Human Molecular Genetics, published online in Advance Access, Sept. 21, 2012. doi:10.1093/hmg/dds396 About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu. Contact: Dana MortensenThe Children's Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhone: (267) 426-6092 Mortensen@email.chop.edu