San Antonio Obesity Genome Project Tackles A Weighty Problem

“This is the kind of effort that has potentially very long-term payoffs.”

By Wendy RigbyAugust 31, 2016 9:30 am, , ,

From Texas Public Radio

Stepping on the scale can be a frustrating routine for millions of people carrying around extra pounds. People like Judy Winkler of Hondo. At 5’2”, she weighed 185 pounds at her heaviest.

“I never remember a time that I wasn’t ‘little chubby girl.’ I always got picked last for everything because I couldn’t run very fast,” Winkler said.

Winkler is volunteering to be part of a new obesity research tool called the TOPS Genome Registry. San Antonio’s Texas Biomedical Research Institute is teaming up with the group TOPS which stands for Take Off Pounds Sensibly. The idea is to get family histories and DNA samples from thousands of people across North America. That data will live in San Antonio. Scientists will use the information to pinpoint genetic factors that weave into diet and exercise and impact obesity.

“I think this will be an invaluable resource,” stated Tony C0muzzie, Ph.D., who works in genetics at Texas Biomed. “This is the kind of effort that has potentially very long-term payoffs.”

Comuzzie explained the theory that extra body fat produces a sort of chronic inflammatory condition that contributes to serious health problems like vascular disease, diabetes, and liver problems. While similar genetic databanks give snapshots of the population, Texas Biomed plans to follow these volunteers for years and years.

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