Fitting into your genes – the genetics of obesity – Naked Genetics 13.01.14

Fitting into your genes – the genetics of obesity

Obese Mouse (c)

The gym is full, the pubs are empty – it can only be January, as a good proportion of the population resolves to shape up and lose weight. But are your efforts going to help you fit into your jeans (with a J), or are you just fighting against your genes (with a G)? Plus, we discuss how genes might jump between cows and snakes, and we’ve got gout, goats, giant pandas and a glass bottom boat.This is the Naked Genetics podcast for January 2013 with me, Dr Kat Arney, brought to you in association with The Genetics Society, online at

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In this edition of Naked Genetics

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  • Cow (c) Maksim, Wikimedia Commons

    12:42 – Genes jump from snakes to cows

    One study that’s very interesting is looking at how a quarter of the cow genome actually came from snakes or is this really true? That’s the question.

  • Male Giant Panda "Tai Shan" at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. (c) Fernando Revilla

    16:03 – Panda Genome

    Now for some other fascinating animals – pandas. I saw in the latest issue of Nature Genetics from Shancen Zhao that they have sequenced the panda genome. What did they find in it?

  • A Prostate Cancer Cell (c) Cancer Research UK Electron Microscopy Unit

    17:39 – Cancer-killing cells created

    Researchers in Japan have created killer immune cells that can be grown in the lab and recognise melanoma skin cancer.

  • Gout (c) Wrerick

    18:56 – Gout risk genes found

    Writing in the journal Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers have found 18 new genetic variations that increase the levels of uric acid in the blood – the main cause of gout.

  • Goat (c) Mamun2a

    19:44 – Goat genome mapped

    A Chinese team have used the latest sequencing techniques to complete the first goat genome, mapping the entire genetic code of a female Yunnan black goat – a common domestic species – publishing their work in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

  • Little Changes Rinkidinks (c) Tiffany Taylor

    20:50 – Meet the Rinkidinks

    Now it’s time to meet the Rinkidinks. These creatures are the creation of Dr Tiffany Taylor, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, who has written a children’s book called Little Changes, aimed at helping teachers to explain the concepts of evolution to childre…

  • Obesity (c) Alessandro del Borro

    Genetics of obesity and diabetes

    Just looking at the families around us, it’s obvious that at least some aspect of our BMI – that’s body mass index, a handy if imperfect measure of weight – is encoded in our genes. This is borne out by genetic research, as well as the fairly obvious finding that a good chunk of…

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