Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 80–84 | Cite as

The FTO Gene, Implicated in Human Obesity, Is Found Only in Vertebrates and Marine Algae

Letter to the Editor

Abstract

Human obesity is a main cause of morbidity and mortality. Recently, several studies have demonstrated an association between the FTO gene locus and early onset and severe obesity. To date, the FTO gene has only been discovered in vertebrates. We identified FTO homologs in the complete genome sequences of various evolutionary diverse marine eukaryotic algae, ranging from unicellular photosynthetic picoplankton to a multicellular seaweed. However, FTO homologs appear to be absent from all other completely sequenced genomes of plants, fungi, and invertebrate animals. Although the biological roles of these marine algal FTO homologs are still unknown, these genes will be useful for exploring basic protein features and could hence help unravel the function of the FTO gene in vertebrates and its inferred link with obesity in humans.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Sequence data of Phaeodactylum were produced by the Joint Genome Institute (http://www.jgi.doe.gov/). Sequence data of Ectocarpus were produced by Genoscope (http://www.cns.fr/). Micromonas culture work and genome sequencing were supported by the USDOE and a Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation grant to A.Z.W. S.R. is indebted to the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders for a predoctoral fellowship

Supplementary material

239_2007_9059_MOESM1_ESM.doc (401 kb)
Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Robbens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre Rouzé
    • 1
    • 3
  • J. Mark Cock
    • 4
  • Jürg Spring
    • 5
  • Alexandra Z. Worden
    • 6
  • Yves Van de Peer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Systems BiologyVIBGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Molecular GeneticsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratoire Associé de l’INRA (France)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.UMR 7139 CNRS-UPMCVégétaux Marins et Biomolécules, Station BiologiqueRoscoffFrance
  5. 5.Institute of ZoologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  6. 6.Monterey Bay Aquarium Research InstituteMoss LandingUSA

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