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Body shape genes uncovered

11th October 2010

A study has found out which areas of DNA could determine body shape, including "apple" and "pear" shapes.

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The researchers, from Oxford University and the Medical Research Council, examined the genetic codes of over 77,000 people in order to find out which DNA areas could be associated with variations in the way body fat was distributed.

The study, which was published in Nature Genetics, determined the locations of 13 genes which might play a part in body shape and which had more of an effect in women.

The distribution of body fat can be a factor in how likely a person is to develop certain diseases, with apple-shaped people more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes.

It is likely that the 13 locations will only be found to make a very small contribution to determining waist and hip measurements, and have more likelihood of influencing how the body controls fat storage.

Dr Cecilia Lindgren, of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford, said: "By finding genes that have an important role in influencing whether we are apple-shaped or pear-shaped, and the ways in which that differs between men and women, we hope to home in on the crucial underlying biological processes."

"Understanding biology through finding genes is just a first step in a long journey towards treatment, but it is a vital one."

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