Th New “Thrifty” Gene and Obesity

Article first published as The New “Thrifty” Gene And Obesity on Technorati.

thriftygene Th New Thrifty Gene and Obesity

Scientists recently discovered another “thrifty” gene called CRTC3 that affects obesity.  The concept of thrifty genes was first explored in the 60s. These genes are believed to slow down the body’s fat-burning process, and once helped our ancestors survive famines.

Mice bred without CRTC3 stayed lean irrespective of diet. Studies also showed that some humans have more potent variants of CRTC3 which makes it extra hard to lose weight, but only among certain ethnic groups. For example, Mexican-Americans with the variant-gene have greater rates of obesity, but non-Hispanic whites with the variant-gene do not.

While “thrifty” genes were once useful, they haven’t evolved at the same pace as society; they persist in making us retain excess fat though famines are unlikely in our current world.

So what can we do about these pesky genes?

Since “breeding” humans without them isn’t a viable option, and pharmaceutical companies will take time to develop a drug that turns CRTC3 and other similar genes “off”, we currently have only one choice. Consume fewer calories than we expend.

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