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" New Risk Scores Assess Ties Between Genes and Obesity, Disease" - Betsy McKay

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • New York, NY
  • (April 18, 2019)

Researchers are developing new ways to mine growing stores of genetic data to predict risk of disease. The latest such tool, which assesses the risk for obesity, illustrates both the promise and the limitations of this emerging area of research. In a paper published in the journal Cell, researchers said the tool, called a polygenic risk score, predicted the body-mass index, weight and obesity status of more than 306,000 people, showing a substantial weight difference between those with the lowest and highest scores. Some experts questioned how useful an obesity score would be, given that the condition is due also to poor diet and lack of exercise. “If a disease like obesity is only half genetic, no genetic score will ever perfectly predict obesity,” said Ruth Loos, PhD, director of the genetics and related metabolic traits program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

—Ruth Loos, PhD, Professor, Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Director, The Genetics of Obesity and Related Metabolic Traits Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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