Dimensions Title Bar

Genetic Defect Linked to Obesity

Thursday October 1 1:22 AM EDT

BOSTON (AP) _ Scientists have discovered another genetic flaw that seems to raise the risk of obesity, according to research reported in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Several genetic defects have already been found that increase the tendency to put on weight. None of them, acting alone, appears to be a frequent cause of obesity.

The latest was discovered by Dr. Michael Ristow and others from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

The defective gene produces the protein for peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor gamma 2. It is involved in one of the steps in the production of fat cells.

The researchers, working with scientists in Cologne, Germany, looked for the defective gene in 358 German volunteers, 121 of whom were overweight. Four of the obese people carried the mutated gene, but none of the normal-size people had it.

The researchers concluded that the bad gene increases growth in fat cells and contributes to obesity in some people.