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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Mar;17(3):593-600. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.561. Epub 2008 Dec 18.

WDTC1, the ortholog of Drosophila adipose gene, associates with human obesity, modulated by MUFA intake.

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JM-USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Adipose (adp) is an obesity gene in Drosophila and mice with crucial functions in fat metabolism. We investigated the correlation between genetic variation of the WDTC1 locus, the ortholog of adp, and human obesity. Five WDTC1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped in 935 and 1,115 adults of two ethnically diverse US populations. In the Boston Puerto Rican population, we demonstrated that two WDTC1 SNPs strongly associated with obesity. Homozygote and heterozygote carriers of the major allele i22835A, representing approximately 96% of the population, had significantly higher mean BMI (31.5 and 31.0 kg/m(2), respectively) than noncarriers (28.6 kg/m(2)). Conversely, homozygotes of the minor allele i22835G were leaner and were 74% less likely to be overweight or obese (odds ratio (OR) = 0.26, P = 0.003) compared to homozygote carriers of the major allele. Haplotype analyses based on two SNPs further supported these findings. In addition, we found a strong interaction of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) intake by genotype in this population. As dietary MUFA intake increased, minor allele carriers of SNP i22835A>G had higher BMIs, whereas major allele carriers had lower BMIs. A white population also exhibited a pattern of association between WDTC1 genotypes and obesity although of a different nature. Those WDTC1 variants which associated with obesity likely have experienced strong positive selection in human history, when food supply was unpredictable. Given the high frequency of the major alleles in both populations, we suggest that WDTC1 variation may be an important risk factor contributing to obesity in these populations.

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