Obesity and its associated comorbidities represent one of the biggest public health challenges facing the world today. The heritability of body weight is high, and genetic variation plays a major role in determining the interindividual differences in susceptibility or resistance to the obesogenic environment. Here we discuss how genetic studies in humans have contributed to our understanding of the central pathways that govern energy homeostasis. We discuss how the arrival of technological advances such as next-generation sequencing will result in a major acceleration in the pace of gene discovery. The study of patients harboring these genetic variants has informed our understanding of the molecular and physiological pathways involved in energy homeostasis. We anticipate that future studies will provide the framework for the development of a more rational targeted approach to the prevention and treatment of genetically susceptible individuals.