Posted on Sep 06, 2019, 4 p.m.
CRISPR gene editing technology can be applied to alter DNA sequences to either quiet or enhance expression of specific genes, and scientists have been using these methods to search for ways to improve human health.
As published in the journal Genome Research a recent study has used CRISPR technology as a tool to reduce the body weight of mice by 20%, the mice in the study did not reduce food intake or increase exercise to experience this significant reduction in weight.
The average weight of an American man is 197.8 pounds and women are 170.5 pounds, with 40% of adults considered to be obese. To put the findings from this study into a more clear perspective even a 10% reduction in body weight would allow a person to stay within a healthy range while maintaining their existing diet. Preliminary results are believed to be able to lead to a successful human treatment which could decrease type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other obesity related conditions.
Gene silencing therapy Fabp4 for fatty acid metabolism was used to achieve these results in animal studies; when expression of this gene was turned off the mice stored less fat which had minimal toxicity to their cells, resulting in the animals displaying decreased indications of type 2 diabetes, lower glucose levels and less inflammation as compared to controls.
Additional research is required to replicate the findings as the study was conducted on only 5 mice in each of the control and experimental groups, meaning human trials are most likely to be at the very least several years away.
Until this designer skinny gene is available for humans it may be best to stick with following a healthy lifestyle which includes getting enough sleep, managing stress, regular exercise, and consuming a healthy balanced diet full of foods that have been shown to help reduce obesity such as fruits, vegetables, green tea, and nuts.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.