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Carb Fat Gene

April 28, 2009

Researchers have found a gene that’s key in turning carbs into fat.


Turning fuel into fat…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Carbohydrates are a great fuel source for the body. But eat too many and the excess gets turned into fat. Now, UC Berkeley nutritional science professor Hei Sook Sul and her colleagues have identified a gene that’s key to this process. Roger Wong, a graduate student in Sul’s lab, says the gene codes for a protein called DNA-PK. Mice that are missing the gene are leaner and have less body fat than normal mice.

ROGER WONG (UC Berkeley):
In the DNA-PK deficient mice, we found they’re making 60 percent less fatty acid compared to the counterpart.

The researchers say that there are only two ways to use up the excess energy you get from carbs: by exercising, or by storing it as fat. So in the future, blocking DNA-PK could provide a new weapon in the battle of the bulge. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.