REYKJAVIK, Iceland, December 14 In one of thelargest studies of its kind, a multinational team led by scientists fromdeCODE genetics (Nasdaq:DCGN) today report the discovery of common variationsat seven new sites in the human genome found to influence obesity. The studyanalyzed more than 300,000 single-letter variations (SNPs) across the genomeof more than 30,000 people from Iceland, the Netherlands, and the UnitedStates, and confirmed the findings in data from more than 40,000 individualsfrom Denmark and the US-based GIANT Consortium. deCODE is incorporating thenovel SNPs on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 12 and 19 reported today in itsdeCODEme(TM) personal genome analysis service, and subscribers will receivean update to their personal profiles. The paper, entitled "Genome-wideassociation yields new sequence variants at seven loci that associate withmeasures of obesity," is published today in the online edition of NatureGenetics at http://www.nature.com/ng, and will appear in an upcoming printedition of the journal.
"This study essentially doubles in one fell swoop the number of known andreplicated genetic factors contributing to obesity as a public healthproblem. And what we are seeing in obesity are a large number of commongenetic risk factors with a relatively modest impact on disease. One of themost notable aspects of these discoveries is that most of these new riskfactors are near genes that regulate processes in the brain. This suggeststhat as we work to develop better means of combating obesity, including usingthese discoveries as the first step in developing new drugs, we need to focuson the regulation of appetite at least as much as on the metabolic factors ofhow the body uses and stores energy," said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE andsenior author on the paper.
"Today's findings also underscore our ability to employ ourpopulation-based resources and statistical knowhow in Iceland as acornerstone of large-scale multinational collaborations to identify andreplicate the inherited causes of the most complex phenotypes. These newvariants may point to valuable new drug targets, and we are alreadyintegrating them into deCODEme.(TM) We look forward to expanding upon ourproductive collaboration with colleagues in the US and Europe to continue toincrease our understanding of the biology that underlies obesity," Dr.Stefansson added.
About obesity and this study
Obesity results from the consumption of more calories than the body uses,and it represents a growing public health problem worldwide, particularly inindustrialized countries. Obesity is a major risk factor for diseases such astype 2 diabetes, a range of cardiovascular conditions, and even some forms ofcancer. One third of the population of the United States is now classified asobese, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around theworld as many as 400 million people are obese.
Obesity is a quintessentially complex condition. Behavioral factors suchas diet, eating habits and lack of exercise play a major role, but theseinteract with genetic factors that influence the regulation of appetite aswell as how the body uses energy and stores it as fat. The aim of the studypublished today was to identify more of these genetic factors as a means ofbetter understanding the biological processes that contribute to obesity.This information can be used to inform efforts to develop better means ofcombatting it. The discovery phase of the study published today correlatedmore than 300,000 SNPs with data on weight and body mass index (BMI). BMI isa measure used to relate weight to height, calculated as an individual'sweight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared, andindividuals with a BMI greater than 30 are defined as obese. The 43 SNPsidentified in this first scan were then analyzed in 5,500 Danes and genotypicdata from the 33,000 participants in the GIANT Consortium's research. Thisanalysis yielded SNPs linked to overweight and obesity at seven regions ofthe genome not previously known to be involved in obesity; identified newSNPs at previously known obesity-linked sites in the genome; and confirmedand refined the impact on obesity of previously published SNPs at four othersites in the genome.
deCODE and the authors would like to thank the participants in thisstudy, and to acknowledge the fruitful collaboration with the GIANTConsortium, which included data from this study in its own meta-analysis alsopublished today. The research performed at deCODE was partly funded throughthe European Community's ENGAGE project, grant agreementHEALTH-F4-2007-201413. Support for the US research was provided by the USNational Institutes of Health, and for the Danish research by the LundbeckFoundation Centre of Applied Medical Genomics and the Danish Health ResearchCouncil.
deCODE is a bio-pharmaceutical company developing drugs and DNA-basedtests to improve the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of common diseases.Its lead therapeutic programs, which leverage the company's expertise inchemistry and structural biology, include DG041, an antiplatelet compoundbeing developed for the prevention of arterial thrombosis; DG051 and DG031,compounds targeting the leukotriene pathway for the prevention of heartattack; and DG071 and a platform for other PDE4 modulators with therapeuticapplications in Alzheimer's disease and other conditions. deCODE is a globalleader in human genetics, and has identified key variations in the genome(SNPs) conferring increased risk of major public health challenges fromcardiovascular disease to cancer. Based upon these discoveries deCODE hasbrought to market a growing range of DNA-based tests for gauging risk andempowering prevention of common diseases. Through its CLIA-registeredlaboratory, deCODE is offers deCODE T2(TM) for type 2 diabetes; deCODE AF(TM)for atrial fibrillation and stroke; deCODE MI(TM) for heart attack; deCODEProCa(TM) for prostate cancer; deCODE Glaucoma(TM) for a major type ofglaucoma; and deCODE BreastCancer(TM), for the common forms of breast cancer.deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics.SM Visit us on theweb at http://www.decode.com; on our diagnostics site athttp://www.decodediagnostics.com; for our pioneering personal genome analysisservice, integrating the genetic variants included in these tests and thoselinked to another twenty common diseases, at http://www.decodeme.com; and onour blog at http://www.decodeyou.com.
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SOURCE deCODE genetics Inc