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CRG and CREAL identify genes involved in cranial size and childhood obesity


Mié, 02/05/2012 - 12:27

CRG and CREAL identify genes involved in cranial size and childhood obesity


Two collaborative studies involving the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have identified a number of genes involved in the size of the cranial perimeter and in childhood obesity.
In the first case, these results may help to understand the mechanisms involved in neurodevelopment, as well as mental retardation and behavioural and cognitive problems. Specifically this research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, identifies two genetic variants in the genes SBNO1 and HMGA2 associated with the cranial perimeter of children aged between six months and two and a half years old. These genes have previously been linked to height reached in adulthood. An association with a variant in the region where the CRHR1/MAPT genes are found was also discovered. Other studies have also associated the MAPT gene with intracranial volume in adults, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In the second study it was shown that there is overlap between the genes associated with obesity in adults and obesity in children, as of the 9 genes solidly identified, 7 had been previously linked to obesity in adults. The study also identified, for the first time, 2 further genes (HOXB5 and OLFM4), related to the regulation of various intestinal functions.
These two investigations were based on seven studies of genetic associations in a total of 10,768 European children. Both studies were led from the EGG (Early Growth Genetics) consortium which includes cohorts from around Europe with the aim of combining data from infant cohorts to identify genetic variants involved in several important childhood traits (e.g., obesity and birth weight). Participating in a study of this importance makes the Spanish researchers involved very proud. Jordi Sunyer is deputy scientific director of the CREAL and a researcher at the IMIM, Research Institute of the Hospital del Mar and lecturer at the University Pompeu Fabra, Mònica Guxens and Mariona Bustamante are CREAL researchers, and Xavier Estivill, is the coordinator of the CRG Genes and Disease programme.
Reference articles:

  • Taal HR, St Pourcain B, Thiering E, Das S, O Mook-Kanamori D, et al. “Common variants at 12q15 and 12q14 are associated with infant head circumference” Nature Genetics. (2012). doi:10.1038/ng.2238   
  • Bradfield JP, Taal HR, Timpson NJ, Scherag A, et al. “A genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies new childhood obesity loci” Nature Genetics (2012). doi: 10.1038/ng.2247

For further information, please contactLaia Cendrós, CRG Press Office – Tel.: 93 316 02 37