'Hungry gene' discovery may help solve the obesity problem By Nick Collins Scientists have discovered a "hungry gene" which they believe could cause obesity.
A study has identified a possible genetic root to the insatiable appetite and slow metabolism in some people.
Looking at 2,101 patients who were severely obese, they found those with mutations of a gene called KSR2 were hungrier and burned fewer calories than people with a normal copy of the gene.
Dr Sadaf Farooqi, of Cambridge University, said: "Changes in diet and levels of physical activity underlie the recent increase in obesity.
However, some people gain weight more easily than others. This variation between people is largely influenced by genetic factors.
"The discovery of a new obesity gene, KSR2, demonstrates that genes can contribute to obesity by reducing the metabolic rate - how well the body burns calories."
Dr Farooqi said the discovery could provide clues as to how obesity develops and help develop new drugs to treat the condition as well as type-2 diabetes, which is linked with it. The study was published in the journal Cell.