'We have found a gene, ADCY3, which predisposes Greenlanders to obesity and diabetes when it is inactive. This appears to be unique to the Greenlandic population', says Associate Professor Niels Grarup from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen.
In the study, which has just been published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics, the researchers have examined the genes of 5,000 Greenlanders, corresponding to around nine per cent of the entire population in Greenland. In 4.4 per cent of the test subjects this specific gene was inactive.
Activity - Gene - Everyone - Copies - Genes
The activity of the gene is important because everyone has two copies of all their genes. This means that the gene may be expressed in full, in part or not at all. In around four per cent of the Greenlanders the gene is only expressed in part. On average this increases their weight by two kilos, their waist circumference by two centimetres and their BMI by 1 unit compared to the rest of the population.
And the risk of developing diabetes also increases when the gene is not fully active: 11 per cent of those where the gene is expressed in part suffer from diabetes; the figure is 43 per cent for those where the gene is not expressed at all. Around seven per cent of all Greenlanders in whom the gene is expressed in full have diabetes.
'We - Gene - Obesity - Risk - Diabetes
'We are pretty convinced that it is this Greenlandic gene that impacts on obesity and the risk of developing diabetes. Because in seven individuals the gene is not expressed at all, and this really causes problems. On average it increases their weight by 15 kilos, their waist circumference by 17 centimetres and their BMI by seven units, of course with some statistical uncertainties,...
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