Mutant Gene to Control Weight Gain: No More Diet Plans


Good news for all the folks who often fail to resist the tempting calorie loaded mouth watering food and in turn keep gaining weight. According to a latest research, scientists very soon will create a pill that can keep a check on individual weight without having to sacrifice on favorite foods like cakes, burger, pizza and ice cream. 

Mutant Gene

Sean Curran from the Keck School of Medicine of USC and USC Davis School of Gerontology is leading the research team has found a genetic mutation in the key gene of the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, helps it to feed on food with high sugar and high fat content, without any weight gain. While worms without mutant gene, consuming the same food became obese.

So far the research was limited to a petri dish containing human cells and the worm. But researchers are planning to conduct trials on mice as similar genetic pathway can be seen in animals ranging from yeast to humans.

Curran and his team observed that mutant C. elegans worms had an extremely hyperactive SKN-1 gene. In humans the gene similar to SKN-1 is known as Nrf2 and therefore, researchers believe that the result may translate in humans too.

Nrf2 protein (a transcription factor) attaches to specific DNA sequences and regulate the cells’ ability to repair damage or to detox when exposed to chemically reactive oxygen, has been thoroughly studied in mammals. Based on these, pharmaceutical companies have worked to create small molecule drugs that target Nrf2, aiming that it will result in more antioxidant production and thus slowing down the ageing process.

Risk Involved

Researchers say that the idea of a pill that regulate the response of the body to high sugar or fat diet is very alluring, it is not completely risk free. They warn that increased Nrf2 function is often linked to aggressive cancers. Curran explains that in order to derive the best result, Nrf2 needs to be activated cautiously in specific tissue and for specific durations.

Until pharmaceuticals companies develop pills that can guarantee no risk of cancer, it is best to eat right and workout regularly.

Source: USC News

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