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Fat Master Regulator

June 16, 2011

A “master regulator” gene in fat tissue may affect diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, and other conditions.



A command center in fat…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists recently made headlines with a report on a gene called KLF14, found in fat tissue. It was already linked to cholesterol and type II diabetes. But it turns out it’s a master regulator that affects many other genes, including ones associated with obesity, blood sugar control, and other metabolic issues. Oxford University geneticist Mark McCarthy says the discovery may help explain how conditions like obesity and diabetes relate.

MARK McCARTHY (University of Oxford):

Exactly what connects obesity and abnormalities in fat, to the processes in muscle and liver and pancreas, that are important for developing diabetes, is not very well understood.


Of course, an unhealthy diet can cause these and many other problems. But McCarthy’s team’s research suggests a genetic link that deserves further exploration – and could lead to more effective therapies. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.