University of California San Francisco Researchers Say A Gene Mutation Causes Obesity And They Can Fix It

The endless quest to lose weight is a trip most people get sick of taking. Diets become the weapons people use to drop a few pounds before they add a few pounds over the holidays. There are so many diets in play around the world some psychologists dieting is near the top of the human addiction list.

There’s an inner fear attached to losing weight. No one wants to look like those people who eat non-stop and tip the scales with high three-number standings. For years, people thought obese people just eat too much. They were judged for their lack of self-control and their high-calorie diets. The medical profession tries to help some obese people with surgery and stomach clamps. But those obesity fixes come at a high cost to the people who hear an inner voice that tells them to keep eating.

But there’s hope on the horizon for people suffering from obesity. It turns out eating often and eating a lot are not the major causes of extreme obesity. People who can’t stop eating may have a gene mutation, according to University of California San Francisco researchers who used mice to study gene mutations.

Humans have two copies of every gene. Each parent contributes a copy. Researchers know one mutant gene copy can cause to a plethora of diseases, and one of those diseases is obesity. Now that the mutant gene cat is out of the bag, researchers are able to develop a therapeutic approach for treating various diseases. That approach involves the use of CRISPRa. CRISPRa is a UC San Francisco exclusive. It keeps the CRISPR’s guidance system which can target different DNA sequences, and edit them. CRISPRa uses a control knob instead of molecular scissors. Instead of editing a gene with scissors, CRISPRa finds the target gene and amplifies or turns up the activity of the mutant gene.

The UC San Francisco mice study opens a door for hope for people suffering from debilitating diseases, according to researcher Navneet Matharu, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. CRISPRa treated mice were thirty to forty percent lighter than the mice that didn’t get a CRISPRa treatment. And those treated mice kept the weight off. The study shows treating the cause rather than treating the symptoms of diseases is the future of medicine. When all the studies become scientific facts, and they meet the approval of the medical gods, treating gene mutations will eliminate the need for drugs that help relieve one health issue, but create others.