Study Pinpoints Gene that Turns Carbs into Fat

Study Pinpoints Gene that Turns Carbs into Fat

Food & Drink

Study Pinpoints Gene that Turns Carbs into Fat


By Cari Martens

A university research team has discovered the gene responsible for turning a plate of spaghetti into fat, offering new hope in the fight against obesity.

The gene is called DNA-PK and appears to regulate the process in the liver that turns carbohydrates into fat, according to the research team from the University of California at Berkeley. The study was reported in the science journal Cell.

“We hope that this research will one day help people eat bread, pasta and rice and not worry about getting fat,” Roger Wong, a graduate student who worked on the study, said in a statement.

When mice were bred with a disabled version of the DNA-PK gene, they remained slender even when fed the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat pasta feast. “The DNA-PK disabled mice were leaner and had 40 percent less body fat compared with a control group of normal mice because of their deficiency in turning carbs into fat,” Wong said. The gene-disabled mice also had lower levels of blood cholesterol.

Because humans have this same DNA-PK gene, the research team believes the gene may serve as a target for drugs to prevent obesity.

It’s kind of fun just to think that someday we may be able to eat all the lasagna we want without worrying about the havoc it can cause to our waistline. To dream…the impossible dream.

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