November 02, 2017
6 min watch

VIDEO: ‘Quantum leaps’ being made in study of genetics of obesity

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WASHINGTON — In this video exclusive, Claude Bouchard, PhD, professor and director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, discusses the dynamic field of the genetics of human obesity.

According to Bouchard, obesity research 30 to 40 years ago focused on family-driven factors, which gave a range of estimates for the heritability of the disease from close to 30% to almost 90%.

“Obviously, there were some problems with these methods and approaches,” Bouchard said. “Now with the advent of genomics, we’ve been able to explore in multiple laboratories around the world the compendium of all the DNA variants that impact obesity. They have not all been identified thus far, but a good number of them have been, it is now recognized that the genetic component is probably lower than it was estimated originally.”

According to Bouchard, genetic effects may be explained by many alleles that are common in the population and these may play a larger role than rare alleles.

“The genetic architecture of obesity is beginning to be uncovered,” he said. “We’re making quantum leaps in the genetics of obesity.”