Scientists Find Gene That Lets You Pig Out Without Gaining Weight
Scientists at Flinders University have discovered a gene in mice that allowed them to eat as much as they wanted without gaining any weight.
The discovery was made when researchers removed a certain gene -- known as RCAN1 -- from the mice and found they weren't gaining any weight even after gorging on high-fat foods.
This experiment is also known among the 10 daily team as Saturday night.
LOL, JK. It's every night. Anyway, back to the science.
Damien Keating, the professor who led the study, explained that even though the research was carried out on rodents, the breakthrough will undoubtedly help them uncover new treatments for humans.
"The findings in this study could mean developing a pill which would target the function of RCAN1 and may result in weight loss," Professor Keating told 10 daily.
As for how he and the team felt when they realised they had a breakthrough: "It was amazing," he told 10 daily. Bet it was.
According to a 2017 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, about one-third of the world's population is either overweight or obese.
The study also found that since 1980, obesity rates in 70 countries have doubled.
Back home, a 2017 report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that nearly two-thirds of all Aussies are either overweight or obese, with the statistics only expected to rise.
Professor Keating and his team said that even though obesity is a major global health epidemic, avenues for effective therapeutic treatments are lacking.
How The Breakthrough Can Help Us
OK, so, there are two types of fat in the human body:
Brown Fat: Which burns energy
White Fat: Which stores energy
Professor Keating says blocking RCAN1 helps to transform unhealthy white fat into healthy brown fat, which could pave the way for researchers to develop a new potential treatment method in the fight against obesity.
He explained: "We have already developed a series of drugs that target the protein that this gene makes, and we are now in the process of testing them to see if they inhibit RCAN1 and whether they might represent potential new anti-obesity drugs.”
The Best Part
Professor Keating said that the drugs they're now trying to develop will work at targeting RCAN1 and will help humans to burn more calories even when we're resting.
He went on to explain that once the RCAN1 gene was removed, the mice began to store less fat.
"The reason the mice were storing less fat is that their bodies began burning more energy -- something the gene prevented.
"The other effect observed when the gene was removed is that their skeletal muscle began to burn more energy -- it's important to note that our skeletal muscle already burns quite a lot of energy even at rest -- but this gene seems to regulate the process, so when we have less of it our muscles burn more energy," he said.
Professor Keating added that while it will be sometime before the drugs are available to humans, the overall promise of the impending treatment is enough to make you smile.
It will mean the body would store less fat without the need for a person to reduce food consumption or exercise more"
Amazing, we'll take 10.
Feature Image: Getty