Genetics of severe obesity

Fairbrother, Una, Kidd, Elliot, Malagamuwa, Tanya and Walley, Andrew (2018) Genetics of severe obesity. Current diabetes reports, 18 (85). ISSN 1539-0829


Purpose of review:
This review aims to present current information on genes underlying severe obesity, with the main emphasis on the three genes LEP, LEPR and MC4R.

Recent findings:
There is a substantial amount of evidence that variants in at least ten different genes are the cause of severe monogenic obesity. The majority of these are involved in the leptin-melanocortin signalling pathway. Due to the frequency of some of the identified variants, it is clear that monogenic variants also make a significant contribution to common obesity.

The artificial distinction between rare monogenic obesity and common polygenic obesity is now obsolete with the identification of MC4R variants that are sufficiently common to be described as causing monogenic common obesity.

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