Fat gene

Can’t lose the extra weight? Your genes might be the culprit.

Specifically, you might lack the gene that produces a protein called Pannexin 1, which regulates the creation of fat cells and fat storage.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario deleted the gene from mice embryos and then watched the newborn mice bulk up, adding an average of 42 percent more fat than non-altered mice. They gained the weight whether they ate a normal or high-fat diet.

In the mice who couldn’t make the protein, fat cells were bigger than normal, allowing the cells to store more fat.


Genetic testing will be able to assess whether a human fetus has the gene to make Pannexin 1. Eventually, those lacking the needed gene can undergo treatment in the uterus and avoid growing up with the uncontrollable weight gain that leads to obesity. For most of us, though, putting down the donut and going for a walk is still going to be the most effective therapy.

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