Genes in mice that encourage fat storage and prevent its breakdown, regardless of diet have been identified by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. They think humans could carry identical or similar genes.
They think these fat genes could be the reason of why some people struggle to lose weight despite eating healthily, suggesting the latest weapon in the fight against obesity.
It is hoped the breakthrough will lead to medication that can be used to help overweight people fight the flab without making lifestyle changes.
Until now genes involved in weight gain have been found to affect appetite. But the latest research found they could alter the metabolism and fat storage whatever food is consumed.
"We think humans could carry similar genes or at least that the same process could be going on in humans," the Daily Express quoted Dr Nik Morton, who led the research, as saying.
"We have known for a long time that there's a strong genetic component to being overweight and studies have shown genes can control appetite.
"Our research suggests genes in fat tissue determine the breakdown or putting down of fat regardless of diet," he added.