The obesity switch – why you shuld not get your science from the media

lardby Steve Snodgrass

‘Master switch gene for obesity’
[Via NHS Choices: Behind the headlines]


“The ‘master switch’ gene which causes obesity has been identified,” reported the Daily Mail. It said that the breakthrough could help treat “obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes”.

This genetic study looked at how genetic variations associated with changes in the activity of one gene (called KLF14) had knock-on secondary effects on the activity of a network of genes involved in metabolism. The activity of these secondary genes in fat cells was associated with body mass index, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and how well the insulin system controlled blood sugar.

This study does not immediately lead to new treatment options, but does show that the genetics underpinning metabolic conditions such as obesity and diabetes are complex. The findings highlight the importance of looking at a network of interacting genes rather than one gene in isolation.

The study itself did not look at the activity of these genes in obese people, and it is too early to say that KLF14 is ‘the gene that makes you fat’. Further studies are needed to understand how this network of genes influences obesity and obesity related diseases.


Finding one gene whose regulation affects an entire network of genes does not make it a master gene and does not fully explain what is going on. We are a long way from any real therapeutic  or deep understanding of what is going no.

But all the papers said “Master gene” in a faint hope you would read the ads. That is their reason for hyping things like that. Actually educating people about  data is very far down the list of things the MSM do.

One thought on “The obesity switch – why you shuld not get your science from the media

  1. Awwwww, you science folk are always taking away hope from us fat, old women! This means we are never going to look like skeletons and twenty year old anorexics. Boo-hoo.

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