Medical sequencing at the extremes of human body mass

Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Apr;80(4):779-91. doi: 10.1086/513471. Epub 2007 Mar 5.


Body weight is a quantitative trait with significant heritability in humans. To identify potential genetic contributors to this phenotype, we resequenced the coding exons and splice junctions of 58 genes in 379 obese and 378 lean individuals. Our 96-Mb survey included 21 genes associated with monogenic forms of obesity in humans or mice, as well as 37 genes that function in body weight-related pathways. We found that the monogenic obesity-associated gene group was enriched for rare nonsynonymous variants unique to the obese population compared with the lean population. In addition, computational analysis predicted a greater fraction of deleterious variants within the obese cohort. Together, these data suggest that multiple rare alleles contribute to obesity in the population and provide a medical sequencing-based approach to detect them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight / genetics*
  • Exons / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 4 / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • MC4R protein, human
  • Receptor, Melanocortin, Type 4