Saturday, March 9, 2013

Food-Lovers Listen Up!

          As we all may be well aware of by now obesity is quickly becoming a dangerous trend among the greater population of the United States. We have always been told that being physically active and eating healthy would be the key to physical health, however, regardless of how simple being physically fit sounds, the United States still finds itself battling rapid increases in obesity. So, now science may be coming to the rescue and may hold the key to sequestering this growing trend. Recently, researchers have discovered a gene that when deleted prevents obesity in mice on high fat diets, which now researchers are hoping can be replicated in humans to decrease these rates of obesity. Don’t you wish you could eat anything you wanted and not have to worry about the calories or where on your body that food will go?

            So, food-lovers listen up…you may finally be able to enjoy all the food in the world without dreading gaining a few pounds. Research lead by Prof. James McManaman, Ph.D., vice-chairman of research for Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has discovered a gene, Plin2, which produces a protein that regulates fat storage and metabolism in mice and humans that when deleted prevents mice from being obese, even when placed on a high fat diet. Numerous advantages have been revealed with the deletion of this gene, firstly, mice without the gene ate less and were more active, secondly, fatty liver disease usually related to obesity and commonly found in humans and rodents was undetected, among others. This study has also found that without the presence of the gene, fat can be metabolized faster, which is something many of us humans struggle with, from dieting to supplements to help increase our metabolizes, deletion of this gene may be the answer to our problems.

            This type of research could open so many doors into how to control rates of obesity nationwide and could ultimately help make the U.S. healthier as a nation. Since this deletion has shown that mice become more active and eat less, maybe the same thing would happen for humans and we could actually become physically fit, with a little help from science! From this article the only questions that really came to mind is how this gene deletion would affect human physiology and whether deleting the gene would cause some sort of adverse affects on other parts of our intricate system? It obviously seems as though much more research must be done before this can come close to being tested on humans, but it sure does sound promising!

Posted by Gabrielle Wertheim (3)


  1. While interesting, using genetic experimentation to compensate for the lack of self discipline in a growing portion of our society has scary implications. I'd much rather let people who can't control their eating or can't be bothered to exercise continue to inflate rather than manipulate the human genome to make politicians feel better about themselves.

    Cool science that I hope is never applied to the general population of any country. The safety on the individual level notwithstanding, this is NOT how to fix the "problem" of obesity in the USA.


  2. I don't think this is very ethical. People can't eat whatever they want without damaging their body. High fat diets provide no real nutrients, and your body needs Vitamins and minerals that are provided in a well balanced diet.

    There are no short cuts to physical fitness. This is just endorsing the idea of inhaling a Big Mac meal.

  3. I think that this would be great if it worked, however I don't see how it possibly could. Given the opportunity for it to have no visual consequence, most Americans would probably do it. This would cause a problem in that not eating healthy causes more widespread problems than this including cognitive issues.
    Hunter Alexander (1)

  4. Although this sounds like it may have great potential, there are few things like this without risks. On main concern would be the effect of this gene deletion on prenatal or postnatal women. It is essential for these women to maintain extra body fat for a period of time. If a young woman was to pursue having this gene deleted to stay thin, what would happen if down the road she decided to have children?

    -Ashley Sterpka (1)

    1. How is modifying the human genome to compensate for what is largely personal choice and laziness "great potential." It sends the wrong message all around.

      Michael Ball (1)

  5. Exciting results but it sounds too good to be true for humans. If the gene was knocked out in humans, it could lead to people being thin but also being malnourished. People would probably think they could eat whatever they wanted without thinking about the proper nutrients they're taking in. It could lead to a bad example to children as well because they would grow up thinking they could eat fatty foods with little consequences.

    Posted by Poya Jafari (2)