Gene makes saliva super-potent, linked to weight

| | March 31, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Perhaps it should be renamed the Atkins gene. Scientists have found a small piece of genetic code that seems to have a strong effect on how well we break down carbohydrates and starch — and whether or not we are fat.

“This is the first metabolic clue that the same person eating the same food is going to get fatter compared to someone else in the same situation,” said Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London. His study, published in the journal Nature Genetics, has found that changes in the number of copies of a gene called AMY1 are strongly correlated with obesity, even in twins who otherwise have the same diet and lifestyle.

AMY1 provides the information for the body to make amylase in saliva, which is used to process carbohydrates. People with more of this enzyme seem to gain more nutrition from bread and vegetables — so much so that those in the top 10 per cent for the number of AMY1 “copy number variations” are eight times more likely to be obese than those in the bottom.

“People with extra copies of this amylase gene are able more efficiently to digest carbohydrates and starch,” said Professor Spector. “By a small percentage difference, over time they put on more calories than those who have less copies — even if given the same food.

Read the full, original story: Genetic saliva enzyme link to obesity

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend