Fat and Mass Associated or FTO
This is my YFG or "Your Favorite Gene" Project page.  Feel free to look around!
               ~ Aditi

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This is a picture of the protein that this gene produces.
What is it?
"The typical message has been that if you are overweight it is due to sloth and gluttony and it is your fault...This work is suggesting that there is also a genetic commponent." ~~ Prof Andrew Hattersley (2)
     Before mentioning anything, it must be made clear that the precise function of this protein is yet to be determined.  However, it is expressed everywhere. (1)  It is known that this gene has a direct correlation to the obesity of a person.  People with two copies of the "fat" FTO gene are more prone to obesity than others.  They have a 70% chance of gaining and retaining the weight.  Furthermore, they are proven to have approximately 6.5 pounds more body weight than the people without any copies.  A person with one copy of the "fat" FTO gene has a 30% chance of being more obese than a person wihtout any such variations. (2) These people will be approximately 2.6 pounds overweight when compared to the body weight of those without any copies of the gene. (3)
Demystifying genetics:
      So in brief, for those who don't understand what is being said by "copies", every human has 46 chromosomes, or tightly packed segments of different pieces of DNA.  Half of them were contributed by one's mother and the rest by one's father.  The chromosomes are listed from 1 to 23, since they are doubled to achieve the number 46.  This replication of DNA is important for cell division, but that is not the current topic.  On these chormosomes are genes, or codes (of DNA)  that dictate a specific trait.  If one gets two of the smae genes, one is guaranteed to express that gene.  if one gets different genes, depending on the genes, ony one trait is expressed.  Anytime "copies" are mentioned, they are alluding to the genes that are inherited.
How often does it occur?
      Half of the white European population is suspected to carry one copy of either this gene or a similar-mutated form of this gene.  It is stipulated that one is every 6 Europeans posses two copies of FTO.  (2)  Also, it is probable that around a half of the European population will have at least one copy of FTO.  However, scientists do mention that is NOT the cause of the epidemic of obesity throughout the world. (3)
How was it discovered?
      Like some scientific discoveries, this gene was discovered by accident.  Scientists were looking for the key genetic factor for having Type II Diabetes.  They unexpectedly came across the FTO gene and noted an increase in body weight of the individuals. (2)  This results of the tests were enforced by studies on twins. (3)
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This web page was produced as an assignment for an AP Biology course at Montgomery High School.
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