, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 239-248
Date: 26 Sep 2012

Recent Findings on the Genetics of Obesity: Is there Public Health Relevance?


Since initial studies investigating familial forms of obesity, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been tremendously successful at detecting replicable associations between common genetic variation and measures of fat mass and obesity. The contributory variants found by this approach are limited, as one might expect, in terms of effect size and appear to offer little in terms of direct clinical applicability. However, can these variants with established associations be of value? This review will revisit how common genetic variation reliably associated with measures of fat mass and obesity can inform etiological understanding, improve knowledge of genetic architecture, and enable applied epidemiological analyses. With the discovery of additional body mass index-associated loci and the further functional characterization of identified variants, attempts can be made to better understand and causally analyze the genetic, biological, and environmental pathways to effect involved in obesity and its related comorbidities.