A large scale meta-analysis identified 13 new areas of DNA likely to contain genes associated with waist-hip ratio (WHR), the measure of body fat distribution.
About 400 researchers from 280 institutions worldwide published this finding in the latest online issue of Nature Genetics, saying that multiple genes have an effect on body fat distribution that is independent of overall body fat.
“We identified 13 new loci (areas),” scientists said. “Seven of these loci exhibited marked sexual dimorphism, all with a stronger effect on WHR in women than men.”
Previous studies have shown that fat stored in the abdomen, the “apple” shape, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but fat stored in the thighs and buttocks, the “pear” shape, does not cause this risk increase.
“WHR is heritable, but few genetic variants influencing this trait have been identified,” scientists said.
The international consortium conducted a meta-analysis of 32 genome-wide association studies among 77,167 participants.
Besides, scientists have confirmed 14 known obesity susceptibility areas and identified 18 new areas associated with body mass index (BMI), a measure of body weight based on a person’s height and weight.
“Furthermore, genes in other newly associated loci may provide new insights into human body weight regulation,” scientists said. (PNA/Xinhua)